Splashes of Autumn: A Colourful September in the Garden

It’s been a very colourful month. The weather has been mild and warm, and many plants and flower beds that were looking tired last month, are now resprouting and gaining a second flush of leaf and flower, especially the meadows and lawns. Half of the meadows in the garden were cut mid-August and the rest in September.

In the Walled Garden

Currently the Walled Garden is full of a variety of pumpkins and squashes. Dried and lifted onions and garlic can be seen drying in the glasshouse. Cucumbers and tomatoes are still being harvested, even some late potatoes. Purple sprouting broccoli and brussel sprouts are looking healthy and awaiting their debut.

The cut flower garden has been looking very bright and cheerful with Dahlias, chrysanthemums in full flower.

The Haha border is full of purple, blue and pink asters, pink salvia and yellow helianthus. The long border is full of orange Alstromeria, butter yellow Rudbeckia and various fiery Dahlias.

Sending the apples away to be juiced

On the Russian steps we have many varieties of eater and cooking apples, also quince trees. This year they cropped quickly and weren’t storing well, so we made a concerted effort to pick them and at the same time gave the trees a summer prune to open up and get that much desired goblet shape. Within the walled garden on ornamental metal arches, we have Comice and Conference pear also, picking when hard makes juicing much easier. We send our fruit away to a local juicing company and they return in sterilised bottles. Which we hope to sell at our upcoming Half Term Halloween opening on 26th October.

Making sense of the pictorial meadow

The team have been working hard to tidy up the pictorial meadow. Over 100 meters long it runs along the length of the Russian steps from the hall to the walled garden. A golden summer time mix and blue cornflower is sown annually in Mid to Mid-May and offers a blast of colour in the months of June, July, August. By late August this type of meadow is often looking tired and in need of a chop. With most annual meadows they are chopped gown and over sown with grass seed, and maintained as a lawn during the winter months, then cleared and then resown the following year.

The Fairlight meadow however must look good throughout the year to the first frosts. Once the meadow starts to finish, we clear spent plants away in stages and resow with Phacelia tanacetifolia a robust winter annual with a very attractive blue flower great for pollinators. The blue Phacelia looks great against the late flowering orange and yellow Calendula. We also have two very vigorous plants that we don’t want bind weed that needs to be dug out to remove its thick white roots and Bidens heterophylla. A pale yellow flower on a willow like leaf that can reach 1-2m in height. This flowers late in the season and continues the interest but needs to be kept in check.

Developing the White Border

The white border is located to the southern side of Fairlight Hall. Created by the clearance of Rhododendron ponticum thickets and secondary birch tree regrowth. The area is very wet due to natural springs and plants must do well in dappled shade. Plants such as White Hydrangea, Buddleia, Viburnum, Pittosporum, Veronicastrum and dogwood fill this bed. It has become rather over grown, some shrubs such as the buddleia growing out of proportion to the rest. So, a hard prune to remove some shrubs from the front of the bed and a shaping of other shrubs has given the gardeners a opportunity to split, divide and add some new plants to the border. The whole bed will be liberally mulched in advance of the winter.

Onwards to October, where leaf clearance and bed clearance will take much of the teams focus.

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