This Month In The Garden Oct 2017

Let me first of all apologize for saying in my September article that my climbing French beans, although producing a mass of growth and small violet and white flowers had not set any beans. One week after I had written the article beans started to set and within a couple of weeks we were gathering flat, yellow beans that were not only stringless, but also very tasty. I have since found out that this climbing French bean produces its beans almost a month after my ‘St George’ runner beans.
For many years I have grown three varieties of Crocosmia, and Crocosmia masonorum is by far the largest and oldest clump. Its scarlet flowers open during August and last into late October. The flowers not only add attraction to the late summer and autumn garden, but also provide bees and other insects with pollen and nectar before the onset of winter. Last year a seedling appeared, right, in one border some 10 feet (3m) away and this appears to have flowers slightly larger, but the same colour of C. Masonorum, but as there are already numerous varieties of Crocosmia available it would not be worth introducing.
During October 2016 I purchased a shrub of Vitex agnus castus, left, whose common name is ‘Chaste Tree’. This deciduous shrub is native to the Southern Mediterranean and central Asia and as a consequence it needs a very well drained soil in full sun. In my garden during September and October it produces its slender spire like racemes of pale violet fragrant flowers on the tips of its current year’s growth. I lightly prune this shrub during late spring to keep it in shape.
My ‘Non Stop Begonia’s, right, which I grew in the spring from plugs, started to flower during June and are still in flower. Vi loves the bright red forms, so I planted a number in narrow troughs using half and half Multi-purpose compost and John Innes no2 compost. I also planted a number in a border, but the ones in troughs are producing more flowers, I suppose this is due to me feeding and watering them more readily.
During August we visited my daughter Louise and husband James for five days and during that time we visited seven nurseries/garden centres. Louise and myself for plants, James for tea and cake and Vi for both. I always say that I shall not buy anymore plants, but came away with four more to put in my garden.
As an old Daphne had died at the rear of my Japanese garden, I had purchased a plant of Brachyglottis ‘Walbertons Silver Dormouse’, left, to plant in its place. This is a lovely compact, evergreen shrub with silvery-grey foliage and yellow daisy-like flowers during the summer. This will eventually grow 3 feet (90cm) tall, but I shall prune it to keep it much smaller.
When I first joined a nursery in 1943 Brachyglottis went under the name of Senicio and there is a large shrub of the form ‘Sunshine’ in the border fronting Syston library. By now all of my Buddleja davidi forms and hybrids will have had their dead flower spikes cut off to prevent them from seeding around my garden and as soon as they have finished flowering I prune them back by half their annual growth, then in the spring I cut them back to within 12/18 inches (30/45cm) from ground level. Even when pruned hard back they will often grow 6 feet (1.8m) in a season.
My leaf vac has once more come out of the garden shed to vacuum up the leaves that are covering my lawn and rockeries. The shredded leaves are spread over the rear of my borders as mulch and by the spring the worms will have pulled the shredded leaves into the ground.