Six on Saturday: 13 October 2018: Start of Season Review

We’re decently into Autumn and the main gardening activities now are cutting back and planting bulbs. And, for me, building, if you can call whacking a lot of wood together “building”. Ed 3’s planning stages spawned some baby Eds. I kept the babies simple. Oblongs and straight lines (some of which are bent). Some little things for future sixes.

But all is not yet lost. There is still plenty of colour in the garden, even if most of it is green. Over the last year or so, I’ve gradually introduced plants which combine to produce almost year-round interest. Not quite finished yet and maybe I’ll leave a little gap in the calendar; after all there are things to do besides gardening and the occasional rest period keeps my sanity alive. On the other hand, maybe “rest” equates to a bit of pottering around outside.

But I don’t see this as the end of a lovely summer. Rather as the start of the opportunity of autumn. OK, largely the opportunity to get wet!

Today’s photos have been impacted by storm Callum (or Calum, depending on where you’re from). So a but dull and dreary in the available light. But we carry on regardless in homage to our ruler, Mr Propagator (who is not known for jumping around in the garden in a leotard), whose blog of the day will gradually get longer as more of the international cohort of Sixers (or Sossers if you prefer) add links to their contributions.

1 Something I Rarely See Here

As I’ve been harvesting more grapes than I can eat and forcing bags of them onto anyone who dares to get close, I’ve been reflecting on the absence of blackbirds. They seem to have nipped off somewhere, maybe to Gill Heavens’ scaffolding for a meeting to re-enact that scene from The Birds. But their absence means I have berries at long last. Pyracantha ‘Orange Glow’ is the representative of Cotoneaster, Holly and Blackberry.

2 Fuchsia

As I’ve said a fair bit, my hardy fuchsias haven’t really performed well this year. But, at last, one is putting on a little spurt of little flowers. An expert told me the name of this variety is something way to long to remember; indeed way to long to pronounce in a single breath. But the label said “Hawkshead”. Whatever, the flowers are pretty enough but the plant is a thug. If I didn’t dig a trench around it every year it would have taken over a whole border by now. In fact I’ve tried to eradicate it without success.

The tree behind is not growing at a crazy angle and I know there is some software that can make it look vertical in the photo but I don’t have that software.

3 Another Alstroemeria

Most of my alstros are metre-plus high giants. This is a smaller variety from the butterfly series. Only a bit over a foot tall but nicely clumping for a plant that was a mere rootling last year and only went into the ground in the spring. I’m growing some more of this series which, I hope, will turn out to be purple(ish) next year. Meanwhile I expect this plant to flower for about another month. Some of its larger cousins are about to open in a late flush too, if the frost holds off a bit longer.

4 A Last Hurrah

Rose ‘Wild Edric’ is the only one of several here which put on a decent show this year. And it’s produced one last bloom to sing out the summer.

5 The Obligatory Edifice 2 Shot

Ed 2 is still quite colourful. I think I got the planting plan right for once. Here’s a little grouping of Tulbaghia, Hylotelephium and Symphiotrichum.

6 And Talking About Edifices

The team at WoodblocX (well actually a designer by the name of Calum – no relation to the storm) have (has) translated my sketch plans into the final design. Parts have been ordered, resident cat has been put out to stud to raise the necessary funding, and I should be unloading a pallet or two in a week’s time. Meanwhile I can only wonder if I’ve gone an edifice too far this time. To save the mathematically inclined trying to work it out, it’s 11.775 metres long, a maximum of 1.5 metres deep and half a metre high. The soil estimate is 12.3 metric tonnes. It’ll keep me out of mischief for a few days.

The weather forecast for today is not good with heavy rain, thunder and lightning and some nice gusty winds but I’m undeterred. I shall be sitting indoors, bravely watching a film or something despite the worst the weather can throw at me. Or maybe I’ll get bored, don my waterproofs and plant some of the 2-300 winter and spring bedding plants that I over-ordered (again). I think I over-ordered bulbs too – I need to count them up!

Until next time, enjoy your garden.

23 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 13 October 2018: Start of Season Review

  1. You are a busy gardener John. This new edifice looks amazing. Storm Callum was followed by glorious sunshine here today but I doubt it will not last.

  2. Goodness, that is some edifice. Obviously a man- thing. My construction is limited to propping things up with bamboo canes. My alstroemerias bloom in early summer, how lovely having them now.
    Did you grow your lovely number 5 group of plants so thant you could dazzle us all with the new names?

  3. Alstroemerias have been on my list for some time. I like the sound of yours for the height. I must get on to those. The fuschia is lovely. I inherited one that looks pretty standard – but it’s not, it’s a bush, sort of. I rescued it from bindweed and couch grass – which of course have not given up the battle. Good luck with the planting and the edifice.

  4. Is the new Ed going along the line of ex-conifers? If I’ve understood correctly it comes a kit that you assemble rather than construct. How long will it take you to put together? What will you ok in it? Topsoil? Or a mix of something.

    1. Yup. It avoids having to dig out a lot (and that’s a LOT) of roots and also gets round (or over) the problem of my heavy clay soil. This time, the whole thing will be filled with a mix of sterilised topsoil (no horsetail etc) to which I’ll add some sand and grit plus an organic soil improver to return the nutrients removed by sterilisation. From the supplier I use it costs very little more than bulk bags of simple topsoil.

      Not sure if “kit” is the right word. You can get WoodblocX kits to make a range of standard sorts of rectangles and so on but this is a custom-designed thing so the order ends up as so many blocX of this size and that size and a construction plan. There’s a bit more involved than just simply assembling things. WoodblocX use the terms “construct” and “build”. And, of course, I may change the design part way through – I did with both eds 1 and 2 Or find I haven’t ordered enough of size something when it becomes a case of either working round the shortage or ordering extra bits.

      As to timing, ground preparation (levelling and firming) before I start will take a few days. Actual build time will be about 8-10 hours – this is a simpler layout than ed 2 (which took me about 8) but somewhat bigger! WoodblocX estimate that a novice might take 40-50 hours, due to head scratching and thinking time needed.

  5. Gosh, I’m looking forward to seeing that edifice completed. Rather you than me (or us, I have Mr MG to help) moving all that soil. It will be very enjoyable planting all the new plants in it.

    1. The soil comes on pallets which will be dropped along the front of the finished edifice so soil “moving” is actually little more than shovelling the stuff about a foot or so and then raking it out and leaving it to settle over winter before topping up in the New Year.

  6. How do you stop the slugs and snails from eating your Alstroemerias? As soon as one puts it’s head above the ground it disappears.
    I’ll just have the chocolate!

    1. The slugs and snails here don’t touch Alstroemeria. But then I don’t have that much of a problem with them anyway as the frogs and hogs do a good job and nematodes help too. Incidentally, now is a good time for a final dose of nematodes if you use them – many give up once the summer is passing but the soil is still warm enough and also rather wet and the little todes will thrive and seek out and deal with things before the slimies get on with the job of laying their winter eggs.

  7. Your Ed2 combo is great, I’m a big fan of tulbaghia, I saw a nice variegated one the other day. And Wild Edric is a handsome chap! Looking forward to the Big Construction 2018. I want to know if you will get more Haribo. I expect so.

    1. The second construction of 2018. For some reason I had a thing in my head that number 2 was done last year. I have been led to believe that the delivery will include extra Haribo but have bought a tub as insurance.

        1. True. Plus (being the type that ekes out a good thing, I still haven’t finished the tub I received some time ago from a dear friend (I can say that, can’t I?)) and still have a few left ……

  8. Chocolate and Southern Comfort together? I quite like a mug of hot chocolate at this time of year with a shot of brandy.
    I digress. I love your building blocks, (and Jim’s Lego comment) what a lot of fun you are going to have filling all those beds. And it seems that a lot of us have over estimated bulbs this year. We should have plenty to share in the spring!

    1. I can happily eat chocolate whilst drinking Southern Comfort but I’ve never tried them in the same glass 😉 I am now on the lookout for competitions which have plants as prizes.

  9. The Fuchsia is F. magellanica molinae alba, which makes no sense given that it’s pale pink. ‘Hawkshead’ is white with a tinge of green and is very well behaved. Ed 3 is …, is … big. Did you have Lego when you were small?

    1. Thanks for the Fuchsia ID though the flowers don’t look even slightly pink to my eye (as you’ve said elsewhere, the camera never gets the colours we see). I see it grows up to 3 metres each way which probably explains its horizontal thuggishness here. I had masses of Lego and back then we didn’t buy prepared “build the Death Star” kits but, rather, boxes of bricks. And we used our imagination. Of course. WoodblocX is really just the same – using imagination, working out the bricks you need and then putting it all together. Which is a darned bit easier than digging out all the blasted Leylandii roots (and bending over to plant stuff in the ground).

    1. Neither. Just liked playing with Lego as a kid. And I don’t like plain rectangular raised beds; gotta have some interest in them.

  10. 2300! You’re crazy …. (at the same time, I didn’t count my purchases … maybe I’m not so far ) Thank you for posting the croquis of your Edifice with dimensions. Always a pleasure to see everything you’ve built

    1. Ah, I think punctuation methods may differ between us. By “2-300” I mean “200 to 300”. I don’t think I could manage 2,300 bedding plants now. Though my record, several years ago, was 4,685 summer bedding plants, all home grown. I was on the television for that achievement.

        1. Well I may still be crazy, of course. I think Ed 3 has 3,962 components in all. Won’t be certain until I start unpacking …….

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