At first glance, not a lot appears to have changed since last month’s view. The cosmos are still galavanting, the roses are still blooming, even the sweetpeas continue to produce, although the pace has slowed somewhat.
However, look closer, and you’ll see that signs of autumn are nibbling away at the edges of the garden. Seedheads have been appearing where once there were flowers, the hostas are looking tired and pockmarked, each crocosmia spike is nearing the end of its tangerine trajectory, the tiny leaves of the meadowrue are browning at the edges… and a barely audible trilling close to my left ear tells me that Mr Robin has returned from South Africa and is back in his hedge. (By the way, I know it is exactly my same robin as last winter, because I got so used to it that I can actually recognise his voice. When I hear other robins in other people’s gardens their songs sound really quite different.)
Roses have been the most impressive stars of September. I have five, which I bought bare-rooted from David Austin last January, and they have astonished me by how quickly they turned from muddy brown twigs to these gracious beauties. My last Wordless Wednesday shot was of ‘Tess of the D’Urbevilles’. Now, I am not normally a fan of red roses. They remind me too much of those terrible things in cellophane that appear each mid-February. But I have a very dear old friend back in London called Tess, and so I was impelled to buy this ‘Tess’, which I thought would look especially good climbing above our back door (more about our back door soon), and I am very glad I did. In spring, ‘Tess’ had to be dug back up and put in a pot to get her out of the way of the builders who were building the back door, and she didn’t like that at all and sulked for at least a month before rallying and putting on the most abundant display of roses of all for the rest of the summer. And she really is gorgeous, and nothing at all like a Valentine’s rose at all. Now that the builders are finished, ‘Tess’ can go back in to the ground by the back door, although I will wait till January before making this transition.
My other climber is another literary character, ‘A Shropshire Lad’. He made a slow start and has not been as prolific as ‘Tess’, but has produced a couple of lovely pale pink blooms. I really need to tie him in, but have not had time to research the best method of attaching a climbing rose to a sandstone house wall. My first idea is wires, but they do need to be secure, and to mark or damage the stone as little as possible.
In the flowerbeds we have a rose which for some reason I keep calling ‘Berlusconi’ but which is actually ‘Boscobel’ and is a rich, antique, pinky yellow. There is also the ‘Lady Gardener’ which is supposed to be an apricot or peach colour, but which has been 1) such a pale pink that I even checked the tags to see if I’d accidentally swapped it with ‘Shropshire Lad’ when I was planted them; 2) a vibrant coral orange. At no point has it been the yellow rose I thought I was buying.
Tranquility is the final rose, but I have no pictures from September because it has not produced a bloom this month, although it did reasonably well in July.
Elsewhere, my Cotinus ‘Dusky Maiden’ has put on a spurt in its large blue pot, which my mother gave me for my birthday in the spring. I first saw and coveted this plant on Angie’s Garden Diaries, and since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery she won’t mind that I copied her and went straight out and bought one for myself.
My Salvias have given off another little burst of activity. I especially love the tiny orange windsocks of S. stolonifera; the other is S. patens ‘Cambridge Blue’ and has a subtlety that I am aiming to repeat more of throughout this garden.
Finally, less subtle is the combination of my coral pink pelargonium with this magenta Osteospermum (apologies, I cannot find its label in my label bag, which one day I shall organise).
September was a feet-up month in my garden, by necessity and design. Now the gardening jobs are stacking up for October: planting out my poor overdue remaining seedlings of delphinium, foxglove and honesty, sowing seeds for the spring, mulching with horse manure and leaf mould, and ordering and planting my bulbs, not to mention working on a brand new and quite large project that I have started on and which I will tell you all about in a post in the near future.