A Mockery of Figs

A Mockery of Figs

That’s a new collective noun invented by me to refer to our tree that is now laden with fruit that will never ripen. It has spent the past 20 years bearing a handful of fruit at best; this year it is finally in ‘full fig’ but despite the long warm autumn not one has ripened. I’m now faced with the task of knocking them all off (or as many as I can reach) so that next year’s crop can start to form. A major prune is scheduled for this winter, so at least I will be able to reach the fruit – ripe or not – next year.figs
figs

Aftermath of Storm Angus

Aftermath of Storm Angus

It has been a long and lovely autumn with some of the best autumn colour I have seen in many years.  The day before Storm Angus arrived was glorious, crisp, cold and sunny and the tulip tree looked quite wonderful and at its most golden, with just the occasional leaf detaching itself and drifting gently downwards. Then, during the night, as predicted, we were hit by storm force winds and all that beauty was blown away in a few hours and now carpets the ground. Next task  to rake them all up and put them on the leaf heap which will look more like a mountain than a heap by the time we have finished. I’m planning to throw a net over it to stop it redistributing itself when the next storm arrives.  And much as I mourn the loss of the leaves, it won’t be long before the first bulbs start to push through the ground to remind me that spring is an equally beautiful season.
tulip-tree-before tulip-tree-after leaves-on-ground

Tucking up my Tender Plants

Tucking up my Tender Plants

I’m not sure I entirely believe predictions of a very cold winter, but just in case I’ve been giving the large pots of agapanthus, cannas and the (still in flower) brugmansia a deep mulch of  straw tucked all around the stems for insulation and protection. I will soon add fleece covers to the agapanthus and straw-stuffed wire netting collars to go round the main stems of the other plants. It’s not the most attractive solution but the pots are far too large to move and they do look so wonderful in summer that I’m not prepared to risk losing them.

frost protection

Agapanthus – A fleece jacket will be added if really cold weather is forecast

frost protection

Brugmansia with its straw wrapped stems – it will be neatened up but the light was going!

Agapanthus – A fleece jacket will be added if really cold weather is forecast Brugmansia with its straw wrapped stems – it will be neatened up but the light was going!

Let there be Light

Let there be Light

The part of the garden that I slightly grandiosely think of as the woodland area has become increasingly gloomy over the past year. All the rain in early summer promoted lots of leafy growth which meant the canopy closed overhead.  I knew it was time for action when even the Japanese anemones struggled to flower despite being a plant that verges on being a weed in this garden. So, I’ve thinned out the amelanchier and cut back much of the Viburnum opulus and the Stachyrus praecox – both looked beautiful last spring, but that was at the expense of everything else – the surviving branches will provide some flowers next year, while those that were pruned will start to put on new growth.

garden maintenance

Before


garden maintenance

After


The existing hellebores, lily of the valley, and Japanese anemones will be much happier (and more visible) now and after a top dressing with leafmould and compost and some decent rain, I am adding more plants.  There include cyclamen coum, a number of ferns (mainly evergreen), hardy begonia grandis evanisiana, persicaria virginiana ‘Lance Corporal, a couple of  epimedium and some homegrown foxgloves and sweet rocket. All of these plants already grow happily (and sometimes self seed) in the garden, so I’m confident they will establish well.
Begonia

Begonia grandis evansiana


Persicaria

Persicaria virginiana ‘Lance Corporal’


As I’ve planted, I have upended pots over each plant before adding a good mulch of bark chippings.  The pots stop the plants from being buried in mulch and once they are removed everything looks happily settled in their new surroundings.garden tipsferns