It’s the best time of year to be moving plants, but once you get started, it’s like an interminable game of Musical Chairs, digging up a plant, putting another in its place, then having to find a new place for the first plant, finding one that has an occupant, moving that occupant, and so on, then realising you’ve run out of places and have a load of cross plants hanging around like sour losers. I loved the party game as a child, but not the bit where there are two of you left playing and only one chair – inevitably this meant being sat on by a competitive six-year-old as if you were the chair. That said, moving the plants to a better place where they look more at home is a satisfying task, the earth is soft and one can get a spot of weeding done at the same time. It’s also the time of year for bulb planting, and I’ve got started with that, sticking narcissi in here and there, but as usual I’ve over-ordered and given myself too much work to do! Never mind, let’s look at six things this Saturday:
1 Queen bumblebees and leaf mould. Just as the leaves are starting to tumble from the trees, it’s time to check on last year’s leaf mould pile. Two delightful discoveries: firstly, I have some lovely, crumbly, rich leaf mould ready to use in time for bulb planting, and secondly, the back of the pile is home to several queen bumblebees who are bedding down for winter. They will emerge early next spring to feed and then create the new generation of bumblebees. Of course this means I will have to leave part of the leaf mould pile undisturbed, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay to lend a hand to the wildlife.
2 Viburnum opulus. A new but long-planned purchase. I went to a great tree nursery outside town that also has shrubs to get this. It’s the replacement for the forsythia which is coming out this autumn, no matter what. I chose this because it grows wild in the forest here, has long-lasting red berries, pretty leaves and pollinator-friendly flowers in spring. I’d say it’s going to work a lot harder than the forsythia.
3 Cyclamen hederifolium. I may have inadvertently picked these up at the tree nursery too. They are to go here on the shady side of the front path, which is in need of a good weeding. Good to see buds have formed on the rhododendron ‘Monarch’, such a show in late spring.
4 Carex oshimensis ‘Everest’. Did I mention I needed to do some weeding? Here’s some more, as the wild strawberries make a bid for border domination and need reigning in. The game of musical chairs also started here, as I decided to move the three uppermost Carex to the other side of the path, where they will get more light and create a more balanced effect on both sides of the path. In their place, I’ve put in some ajuga reptans from further down the path – I find this a great ground cover for shady spots, and the bees love it in flower.
5 Grapes. In a massive contrast to last year, when we harvested about 20 kilos of grapes, this year our vine has been very unhappy with the extremely humid weather we’ve had. I will give it a good feed of bonemeal, and hope that it does better next year. Most of the vines grown outdoors in Belgium look like this.
6 Autumn sunrises. To end on a more uplifting note, the sun is lower in the sky, rising much later now at around 07.30 a.m., but that means that from our east-facing house we are treated to some beautiful morning skies.
You can see plenty more Six on Saturday posts on the Propagator’s site as always. I’ll no doubt pay a visit to the allotment, which still has thrilling novelty value, despite the fact that last time I was there I had to deal with a drowned rat in a water butt. I’ve cleared my patch of weeds, and tried my luck sowing some late oriental salad leaves, and edged the patch with narcissi bulbs (at least I’ve got another place to put the darned things!). Hope you all have an enjoyable weekend, gardening or doing other things.