That’s it. First big cold spell of this autumn/winter last night with a frost of -2C but the recompense is beautiful sunshine this morning. And to be honest, given all the topsy-turviness of this year weather-wise, it feels better to be having the weather we should be having at this time of the year.
So, on Sunday, much lugging of pots, pruning of things, and then fleecing of the odd pot too big to bring in took place. Yesterday I ran round and dug up the 3 plants that had been planted in- and managed to remember to bring only two of them into the house. Result: one very brown and unhappy Salvia mexicana ‘Limelight’ outside this morning.
It had only just flowered, and possibly the flowering had saved it’s bacon. I am so disappointed with this plant! I should have paid attention to Louis the Plant Geek. he says, ‘Want the excitement? Accept the dullness. No pain, no gain.’ Louis is a brilliant blogger. In my view, he has everything. Good pictures, great, tested in his own garden information, a witty and astringent turn of phrase- and really detailed advice. I bow down.
The thing is with ‘Limelight’, the dullness goes on for ever- well, given that it has been outside since April, precisely 7 months. I am not yet sure that the gain outweighs the pain. Not to mention, that ‘Limelight’ is a thirsty so-and-so, bending leaves down every day in a sort-of-Mum-wait-for-me way. And growth was stingy to say the least. From the opposite, more rational point of view, these 2 plants were grown from seed last winter and it thrilled me that they germinated on a sunny windowsill. And, in the first year, perhaps I am being unduly testy about the lack of performance till now. So, Louis’ advice is: sink it in a 3 litre pot into the ground, as opposed to planting it which I did, then at the first frost, cut it back and overwinter in a cool place. The last part is easy: the big hall, codename IceStationZebra, in our house.
So, I have half-frozen one plant and saved the other plant. I shall cut both down as Louis describes and hope that over-wintering will give them more of a headstart than they had last year- and meantime, allocate 2 x 3 litre pots for them for next year. I shan’t be mean and ditch them.
Chrysanthemum ‘Chelsea Physic Garden’ had made it just in time to flower. In fact, the cooler nights have brought out the golden tints at the ends of the petals, which really brings the flowerheads alive, I think. They can stay outside for now, and I will move them to the outside barn so they don’t get drowned in too much winter wet.
This little Aussie plant, Westringia fruticosa ‘Wynyabbie Gem’, was planted, new to me, about this time last year, and it turned out to be pretty robust in our sunny, dry border, happily shrugging off a spell of -10C last winter. These are the first flowers on this little plant, and I am hoping that it will slowly bulk up to make a jolly 1m wide and high mound of light green foliage, pretty in itself and then these sweet spotted-throat white flowers in little groups.
And this shot of the back of the garden, looking West, in the last sunshine of yesterday afternoon, is a kind of over-and-out shot, as the leaves on Populus deltoides ‘Purple Tower’ which are so golden in this photograph, have almost all fallen off this morning. Another season begins.