One step forward, two steps back

The past week or so has been full of weather, if such a thing can be said. We passed through a warm spell, though without the ‘tropical nights’ (nights when the temperature remains above 20c apparently) and then a storm was unleashed on us with really destructive winds. And then it rained like crazy. We are now becalmed again but with northerly winds the nights have been cold – just 3.5c last night. I woke to see a heavy dew on the grass that I was terrified was frost. But all was (comparatively) well.

Sunflowers are surprisingly ineffective ground cover

Despite the setbacks of the wind and battering rain, some progress in the garden has been made.

My poor Malus ‘Freja’, torn limb from limb

The biggest dilemma are the trees. I have just done the summer pruning of the apples, for fear that the next storm will break off more branches. I want all the trees to grow, to try to provide some shelter, but I am terrified that, if I leave them with half decent growth on they will snap off. And I am being sensible, so I am planting birches and alder so I am not testing my luck with robinia or other notoriously snappy trees.

Cosmos cut down in their prime

But we soldier on. Although the seaside garden is coming along painfully slowly, two beds are made and planting has started.

Even longer in gestation have been the beds for the fruit. This was a few weeks ago and they are now almost filled with soil, having dug over the soil in the beds. The poor fruit has been in pots, some for two years, so it will be very relieved to actually get in the ground.

The lower (of the three) ponds, is now fuller than seen below – which is annoying because I still have to cement the stones around the edge. If we get some dry weather that will be a job to do soon. The other ponds are dug out and are actually full of water at the moment, despite the lack of liners, which is proving quite useful to help me work out the levels.

The ten waterlilies in here were in a ‘foster pond’ and will be spread among the other ponds which will be done for next spring. I like waterlilies, even more so now that I realise they don’t get damaged in the wind – a wonderful relief.

And the echeverias, I wrote about last week, have found a home. Some went into this silvery pot. It has no drainage holes and is rather deep so they are planted in a pot that just fits into the top. I know you can see the black pot at present, which bothers me, but as they grow it will be hidden. And I can lift out the pot, so I can protect the plants from frost, in autumn.

A few of the annuals pulled through the storm and good old, reliable rudbeckias are making me smile. They are always slow to make a move but, before you know it, are producing their glorious, long-lived blooms.

And the tall antirrhimums (‘Potomac Lavender’ if I remember rightly) are doing all I could ask of them, happily beside some deep pink cosmos.

And one little group, based around eryngium ‘Neptune’s Gold’ is something I visit most days. Together with orange bulbine and blue didiscus (a rather scrawny annual, but lovely nonetheless) it is a classic blue and orange combination.

7 Comments on “One step forward, two steps back”

  1. Paddy Tobin
    September 1, 2020 at 8:49 am #

    It is a little dispiriting to have damage done to young trees but I reckon they will recover. I have been alarmed at the amount of damage which only comes to light several days after the storm has passed – the roses were in a tangle and I had to cut back some quite hard; Runner and climbing French beans were simply shredded thought I thought they looked fine immediately after the storm and on and on it goes. It has brought the end of the gardening year along very quickly.

    • thebikinggardener
      September 2, 2020 at 2:14 pm #

      It does seem like the gardening year has ended but there is still time for a brief spell of good weather. I don’t think autumn colour will be much though – there are not many leaves left on the trees to colour up!

      • Paddy Tobin
        September 2, 2020 at 2:23 pm #

        No, so many trees simply battered to ribbons.

  2. tonytomeo
    September 1, 2020 at 6:41 pm #

    Crabapples and flowering crabapples are remarkably resilient to wind, especially after pruning. That must have been some nasty gusts!

  3. Meriel in Wicklow
    September 2, 2020 at 10:30 am #

    Poor Freja. It looks like your garden is quite exposed. Friends Cosmos has been flattened too but mine is still ok – so far. I was disappointed that they stayed so short, however it’s turned out to be a blessing in disguise! Still more wind and rain – will it ever stop.

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