Perfect weather for the task of prepping the garden for it's gentle sleep, and with said gardener suffering from a severe case of 'cabin fever', thanks in part to his battling a persistent head/chest cold, it was almost finished this morning. I still have to do battle with a gargantuan Persicaria on the west side of the house, bring in thirty bags of compost, and put the garden accoutrements in the garage for winter's safe keeping.... and then I will be done! I am always surprised at how much garden waste there is every season. Between my Baptisia, Kirengeshoma and two species of Aralia, I filled three of the large paper garden waste bags!
I always argue with myself over what to cut back and what to leave standing. The evergreen Epimedium species I have always left as they are, but find their Spring flowers get lost amongst the old foliage, so this year I sheared them all off. The same dilemma with the ferns. I know that by mid November they will be well past their looking pretty phase, but to cut them down now?
I mentioned in a previous post about the fact that the garden is getting too over crowded, to the point that some of my most cherished kids are buried and lost beneath their more exuberant siblings. Case in point with this diminutive Larix kaempferi 'Wolterdingen' - an absolute darling with the softest blue grey foliage imaginable. In the Spring he looks all cuddly and adorable, but my mid Summer he is lost beneath the arching branches of the resident diva - Paeonia obvata. It's only now, as I strip everything else away that he catches my eye and makes me giggle! I have decided that I am going to give Acer pseudoplatanus 'Esk Sunset' another year to prove his worth. I was so enamoured of this diminutive variegated form when I first stumbled across it, but in the past two years, he has been riddled with one pestilence after another. Frost, chewed, deformed leaves, and then of course with the persistent heat and sun this past Summer, he shrivelled to a crisp by the first of August. It isn't his fault. I could have planted him in a shadier spot, but wanted him to be front and centre for when he put on his early Summer foliage show. He truly is a stunning species when he is happy!
This is the narrow border along the east side of the garage. Most of my most treasured children reside and frolic happily in this bed. It has the best soil of the entire property - hence five of the soon to be applied compost will be designated for this bed. I worried over Anemonopsis macrophylla this year. He was a third the size of the year before, and I cannot bear to lose him. Fingers crossed that he recovers from a Summer that was simply everything that he despised most: too hot and humid and not nearly as wet as his native Honshu Japan affords him. Note to self: Coddle this baby next year!
Every October I cut the leader out of 'Ogon,' my stunning golden Metasequoia. He is looking very 'fluffy' this year, and because I have installed a group of my beloved Meconopsis and well as a pair of sublime Cypripedium at his base, this bed has been watered twice a week, every week since they were brought home. I also mist him when it's extremely hot and humid, which was a good part of the summer past!
I have to decide how I am going to contend with my tender perennials this year. I have four Agave, a stunning variegated Euphorbia as well as a variegated Acanthus, none of which would be able to withstand our winter weather. I think I am going to take the largest pot to work and see if I can store it in the store. The remaining two will come back into my room for the winter. It never ceases to amaze me how I wait all summer for the Acanthus to show its variegation, and it isn't until the week before I bring him inside, after which, he quickly reverts back to green! Just because he can!
And now I have to get round to the other side of the house and do battle with the resident Persicaria 'Milk Boy' who grew to such astounding proportions that he is now completely covering my wee Abies councillor 'Blue Cloak.' Note to self: Move one or the other next Spring! Always something to do come Spring, is there not?