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    Autumn Garden at Harvey's Point
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Autumn Garden

Autumn Garden at Harvey's Point

Sitting down to write this, I was wondering whether to introduce a subtitle such as “weather beaten” or “better late than never.” Both would have been apt.

After a promising start to the season with a healthy spring display with a decent showing of Himalayan and Welsh poppies followed by a good display of aquilegia. It was with an optimistic spirit that I looked forward to the summer, but mother nature had different ideas with a very cold early May with a hard frost on the 12th May. The inclement weather meant that window boxes and baskets were late going out and seedlings were slow to establish. Established perennials such as lupins, delphiniums and rudbeckia failed to appear which left holes in some of the herbaceous borders, these were filled with reserve dahlias which were then quickly decimated by slugs. (it’s been a great year for slugs and snails). Slug pellets were reluctantly applied and more dahlias were planted.

Stand by dahlias were also brought into use in another bed, this bed pictured left was to be filled with strawflowers and oriental poppies but never really took off, with some poppies just starting to flower at the end of August; again dahlias to the rescue. Whilst the dahlia reserve earned their keep this year, snapdragons certainly didn’t; a late batch of snapdragon never really established themselves so some beds were a little sparse and not as showy as they should have been. It hasn’t been all gloom and doom in the gardens as bizzy lizzies put on a great show this year as have gladioli and some of the rhododendrons are currently surprising us with a second flush of flowers.

Box blight has struck our box hedging, brown patches appeared earlier this year and were initially dismissed as not being important enough to investigate and put down to an assortment of effects eg dog pee, spilt drink, weedkiller drift or oil and fuel damage from the hedge trimmer. It wasn’t until the patches started to spread that the dreaded blight was diagnosed. Treatment for the control of the blight is now under way with an 2 pronged attack of fungicides using both a mancozeb based fungicide and a conazole based fungicide to control the fungus at early and late stages, trimming will be reduced and the technique of halt clipping will be used during the winter months. Dead leaves and soil topsoil will be removed along with some of the worst affected plants. A low nitrate feed will be used along with mulching and the removal of as many infected leaves as possible.

Spring bulbs should be appearing in the garden centres soon and we will be planting plenty of narcissi and tulips over the next couple of months along with some snowdrops and snowflakes. The schizostylis that were divided early in the year are now ready to go out and should give a nice display over the next couple of months.

Pat Murphy
September 16

Pat Murphy