That mad dash

What a wonderful September we’ve been enjoying. The summer heat may be long gone but gentle temperatures, sunshine and just a touch of rain are spoiling us. The soft September light sets off the brilliant colours of autumn; the orange, yellow and red of flowers, leaves and fruit – a beautiful time, a wonderful season. This time of year allows us to consider where we succeeded and where we need to concentrate our efforts while allowing us to get things into shape before the cold and dark days arrive. I’ve been working on a large plot, removing very old large growth, weeding a lot, turing the soil with the aid of a man with a digger, raking over again and again and finally covering the space with geotextile. Now all I have to do is make a plan for planting. Planning improves our chances of success. Take a close look at your garden and your vegetable garden, what worked, what failed, what did you really enjoy eating and what got left behind – each question has an answer and each answer allows for a change. Photographs also help with planning, take many and remind yourselves later in the year what you loved and what you can do without – make the change, easier said than done I realize but it is important to start.

At this time of year there is so much to do, in fact at almost every time of year there is so much to do. This is the time of that mad dash to get the garden ready for winter before you no longer want to step outside. Tidy up the flower beds, deadhead the blooms that have gone over, allowing energy to be directed to the remaining buds; keep on top of the weeding as weeds continue to grow well; lawn care and repair should be high on the to do list after our scorching summer. Plan some time to buy some bulbs, already now I hear you but yes already now. All local garden centres, DIY shops and even supermarkets carry a vast selection of bulbs. The best choice and the best quality is available now, don’t delay. They may be planted in borders, in the lawn or in pots and will give you tremendous joy in the spring when plants, trees and shrubs are dormant.

Driving through the French town of Divonne and the Swiss villages of Mies and Prangins this week reminded me of how lucky we are to live in an area where such tremendous investment is made in public spaces. Each of these villages/towns has huge areas of fantastic planting, packed with vibrant colours and wonderful texture and all still looking really fantastic. Soon the efficient employees of the “espaces verts” will come by and pull everything up to make room for the winter planting so if you are looking for inspiration go for a walk this weekend. Take photos of the plants that you like and would like to have in your garden. Look at colour combinations, not only of flower colour but also of leaf colour and size. Often we see combinations that we would not necessarily be drawn to plant at home but seeing them at their full size in all their glory may encourage us to be a little more adventurous. Visual lessons everywhere.

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