So many swan songs

Dark Brown Bush Cricket early September UK
Dark Brown Bush Cricket early September

I’m looking out at the garden on a dull and intermittently rainy Monday morning. The green of the grass is particularly vibrant in this light.

Even when the sun comes out the zizz and zuzz of the grasshoppers and crickets in the field is less. The swallows soon will be on their way, during the week there must have been 30 or 40 arcing overhead at one point.

Pale rosy-lilac Buddleja Beijing is one of the last buddleja to flower (although Orpheus is just coming to an end now), it played host yesterday to Red Admirals, a Comma and a few Whites. Speckled Woods still flicker amongst the brambles. On Friday a Humming Bird Hawk Moth was working Verbena corymbosa (should have been V hastata, that’s what it said on the packet! Never mind.)

Tomatoes Gardener's Delight, Costoluto Fiorentino, Big Rainbow (yellow), Gypsy (greeney)
Tomatoes Gardener’s Delight, Costoluto Fiorentino (crimped), Big Rainbow (yellow), Gypsy (greeney)

The tomatoes in the greenhouse have started to turn finally, the flavour is not so intense though and soon they’ll be making way for incoming tender plants (must do something about the whitefly). Seeds of Italy and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

I’ve pulled up the first few courgette forests, Lungo Bianco has lost its mojo, Striato d’Italia has a bit more life left. Enjoying the somewhat late planted gladdies in the veg patch that I got on sale from Sarah Raven in spring, pristine white Bangladesh and ruffled Green Star.

Must try harder

The woodbed has been a bit of a washout (more correctly dryout!) this year, the dryness which may be exacerbated by mole runs saw no astilbe flowers in summer and the Cimicifuga doesn’t look as if it will perform this year either.

I’m ashamed of the bad dry soil in one of the raised beds I found as I was digging things out yesterday. All summer some (but not all) plants have struggled. The now enormous Kniphofia northiae must have dug deep.

K caulescens has been excavated from under the aforementioned Buddleja Beijing and is displaying some buds, K rooperi also excavated has yet to flower. And Crocosmia Emily Mckenzie just coming into flower has been freed from shade as I cut down the Purple Moor Grass earlier this year.

Been poking about looking for the colchicums I planted last year, only one in evidence swamped by Salvia Kew Red. This salvia is an intense red but apparently no longer considered good enough (so says the latest edition of The Plantsman).

I’ve been taking cuttings of tenders (a bit late as ever) and am starting to shift tender plants from garden back to pots. Also planted out wallflower Vulcan raised from seed sown in June. I’m always amazed at what a small root system wallflowers can survive on.

Only one brugmansia has flowered this year despite feeding. I have remembered to collect some Nicotiana alata seed this year. In spring some of last year’s fabulously night scented white tobacco plant had self sown in one of the brugmansia pots so I carefully pricked them out and potted them on – an easy bonus!

All this year’s dahlias went in very late, Karma Choc (first flower now) is certainly an amazing colour. And I forgive White Honka which has stayed in the ground for two years it’s so far performing more vigorously than the more propeller petalled Yellow Honka.

I’m re-reading Frank Ronan’s selection of Christopher Lloyd’s pieces for Country Life ranging from the 1960’s to the 1980’s and enjoying the liveliness, opinions and observations – mostly less arch than some of his writing.

Spotted Woodpecker fracas yesterday, one has been declaring its territory from the top of the Lawson’s Cypress and on spotting another it pounced on the rival and saw it off. The owls can now often be heard around 6:00AM but still not as close as they used to be. It was nice to see a Goldcrest pair still around working an ex Christmas Tree at the end of the garden.

A squirrel has just gone off stage right (now appeared again going off stage left into the other border), the lawn is pocked with holes from the continued frantic nut burying.