The Green Scene

the green scene 2

“If you truly love nature you will see beauty everywhere.” – Vincent Van Gogh

The pendulum of the seasons swings from side to side celebrating nature’s ongoing pageant. Don’t the seasons go by quickly?

As we gradually approach autumn, the garden is aglow with colour. I love this time of year, the plant growth is amazing, the long evenings and sunny mornings are fragranced with flowers and roses. In your garden there are hundreds of plants competing for your attention.

We are entering a time of transition in the garden. The lovely days of late summer gradually giving way to those autumn-tinged mornings. You will soon hear people say “There’s a touch of autumn in the air.”

Looking back over the summer, this has been a great year for roses. Rose of the year for 2016 is Sunny Sky. Bred in Germany by W Kordes, this is a beautiful repeat flowering hybrid tea rose with soft yellow flowers and a lovely perfume.

Also I see our own great W.B. Yeats has had a floribunda rose named in his honour to commemorate the 150th anniversary of his birth.

So what tasks for the gardener at this time of year?

If you have roses in your garden, now is the time to prune rambling roses and summer flowering shrubs such as philadelphus weisela. Give your hedges their final cut before winter sets in. Continue to deadhead summer bedding.

September is a good month for sowing grass seed and laying sods. Divide and replant iris. And in late September plant spring bulbs such as daffodils. Also in late September, transplant evergreen shrubs. A word of caution – do not plant tulips until November.

Sow hardy annuals in the open to flower next spring. Plant new perennials. Continue to feed and water all baskets and containers. Plant new strawberry plants. Keep them well watered. Plant garlic. And trim lavender when flowering has faded. Complete summer pruning of fruit trees.

This is a good time to take some cuttings of berberis, philadelphus, deutzias and many evergreens. Sow Japanese onions and salad crops. Sow spring cabbages. Sow parsley for winter use.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on your houseplants. A little feeding would be appreciated. Continue to cut grass on a regular basis and keep your garden neat and tidy. If you have a small space in your garden near your door or path why not grow some aromatic herbs? Growing different varieties together means you can enjoy the combined scents. They are also a visual treat. Remember you can also grow them in containers.

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I have been asked to recommend a camellia – these are easy to grow and flower during late winter and early spring. I recommend the variety Donation – it has huge rosy pink flowers, ideal for growing in the open ground. And it can also be grown in containers. It retains its glossy leaves all year.

Camellias like shade or partial sun and neutral to acid soil in a sheltered position. Plant them in spring and remember that in the summer they will need to be watered as the buds form, at least twice a week. Also, feed them with a general fertiliser.

So there’s a lot to keep us busy in the garden at this time of year. And as always, enjoy it. I often think of my garden as a theatre and I have a front row seat for all the pageants. At this time of year the visual feast is awesome and the floral feast is one I never tire of.
Helen Steiner Rice has a simple prayer apt for this season:

Thank you God for the beauty around me, the gentle rain and glistening dew, the sunshine and the air.

By James O’Doherty