We do all start on Sunday by asking each other if we have remembered to ‘put the clock back’? We frequently ask if it should be back or foreward, just remember, spring foreward and fall back’. Is next year really to be the last time we do it? No doubt it will be another of those issues in the EU that will have to be debated for the whole year before a final descision is made! All I know is that it cuts short those lovely evenings pottering in the garden so we will have to get up with the sunrise and work in the mornings.
It is the time of year when both in Northern climates and here in the Mediterranean we enjoy the last days of warm sunny weather known as an Indian Summer or in Spanish El veranillo de San Martin/ Saint Martin’s little summer. Let’s hope it lasts until Saint Martins day which falls in early November, after all, so much of gardening seems to be bound either to the Saints days or there are local sayings to remind us what to do. Well as I keep repeating, it is still time to get those spring vegetables into the garden that in Northern gardens wouldn’t even be considered planting until the months of April and May whilst here we will already be harvesting them if we have planted the garden up from now on.
What is noticable many days now is the atmousphere full of woodsmoke, a sure sign that the bonfire ban has been lifted. The fear of wild fires seems to be over and one is allowed to burn up garden rubbish always of course being cautious with water handy and never leave the bonfire unattended or leave even a spark alight when you go indoors at night time. Wood ash is wonderful sprinkled on newly dug soil as a natural form of potash and said to be a slug and snail repellant. Is there really something as easy and natural as this, that will keep these pests away?
Let’s take a look at the garden still in flower starting with Bignonia, that great tumbling climbing plant with bunches of pink blooms. It can be considered as over-exuberant so when the leaves do fall in the autumn it needs a very hard curring back to avoid it taking over altogether. Many of its long trailing growth may well be on the ground and wherever it can it will put down roots. These rooted leaf joints can be carefully cut off , dug up and transplanted either in a pot for the time being or directly into the garden if you know where you want to plant it, just beware, it is a ‘take over’ climber and frequently ends up just where you didn’t need it.
Buddleia otherwise known as the butterfly bush is another of those bushes that thrives here and will still have its last flush of flower heads. To encourage lots of flowers next season this is a shrub that really thrives on a hard pruning as soon as the flower heads die back.
Still in flower you will find those clumps of Four o’clock Jack /Mirabelius Jalapa. It is hard to know if we class this amongst wild or garden flowers, it can be found in all sorts of odd corners both in and out of the garden. As its common name indicates, it flowers in the late afternoon and in the evening has a very delicate fragrance. I mention it now because the dried flower heads are just a mass of little black seeds that are quite big enough to handle and plant just where you want them. An established plant actually grows from a sort of corm so will come back every year as a perrenial. A deep pink is probably the most common colour but there are yellow and white flowers as well so a clump with a mixture of these colours can be very attractive so get collecting a handfull of these seeds. They do just self seed where they stand as well so once in the garden you can be assured of always enjoying a Four o’clock Jack as a late summer flowering plant. Another of the self seeding flowers is Love in the Mist, its big round seed pod will have masses of tiny seeds that spread all over the ground and no matter how you dig and rake the flower garden this will always pop up like weeds from now onwards. Its up to you if you want to pull them all out or just let the self seeded flowers cover a patch.
As I mentioned last week, Nasturtiums are another of those easily self seeding annuals that you can always rely on for an easy garden or even in pots on a terrace. And whilst on the subject of pots , as well as flower bulbs for the spring you can always fill a pot with small onion sets or even the green centre shoot from the onions in the vegetable rack, give them space to fill out in a large enough pot and there you can grow onions on the terrace. I am frequently told ‘its alright for you, you have a garden to grow vegetables, but what about us with only a terrace?’ So there you have the solution, a pot full of bulbs but edible ones this time, onions.
· Buddleia otherwise known as the butterfly bush is another of those bushes that thrives here and will still have its last flush of flower heads. To encourage lots of flowers next season this is a shrub that really thrives on a hard pruning as soon as the flower heads die back.