Not strictly September but on the last day of August, I emptied Compost Bin 2 into old growbags and compost bags – eleven in total – ready to take to the allotment to help improve the soil in my bed. So while Bin #1 does its thing over winter, I can start a new batch in Bin #2.
I could, however, have done without the eight-and-a-half-hours in A&E with chest pains that followed; and the potential diagnosis of angina following two ECGs, four blood tests, and four hours on a cardiac monitor. I am now on one low dosage aspirin a day, have a GTN spray for when the pain starts. BUT, after a chat with a cardiac nurse on September 10th, it MIGHT NOT be angina after all. Further tests are being arranged.
Gardening, apparently, is the best exercise; though I doubt she meant lugging great pots of compost around and stretching across raised bed. She probably thought I meant a little gentle pruning and a bit of weeding!
August has been a long month, concentrating as we were on house and garden maintenance; not so much gardening, more prettifying the area around the garden by painting exterior walls and paintwork, as detailed here and here. A month that, as it neared the end, found us running out of energy and time to do the things that had to be done.
Tuesday last week found me painting the other side of the gate and the frame around the garage door, which I wasn’t looking forward to as it is fiddly to get at. The old paint was flaking off and required a lot of preparation before I could start. But it’s done now (though with the garage door half open I did spot a couple of patches where the brown paint hadn’t covered the blue; but they’re underneath the dips in the door and can’t be seen when it’s down. I can live with that for a couple of years).
An up-and-over door isn’t the easiest thing to paint. I managed the top of the door (standing inside the garage with the door open) and the bottom of the door (standing outside on a stepladder), but I could only manage the lower half of each side due to lack of space inside the garage. It could probably do with a second coat (sometime) but it’s better than it was and I quite like the neutral brown colour.
I’ve still got to pain the white door surround. The paint here is flaking off so will need brushing and sanding, but that will be done at a later date, as will the door behind the brick arch (image 1 & 2). In the final image, the garage door looks blue, but it’s just the reflection of the sky in the wet (brown) paint – I haven’t “missed a bit”.
This month has been a complete wash-out, literally; and when it wasn’t raining, we had overnight frosts. Everything is weeks behind and the soil is still cold to the touch.
First, a look at the saracennia (pitcher plant). This has been overwintering in the Potting Shed as it needs a couple of months of cold temperatures before it starts its new growth cycle. It’s been re-potted twice (July and November 2020) since I bought it in December 2019, in nothing more than the moss my brother raked from his lawn. Then, at the end of March, my favourite TV gardener said it was time to cut off the old pitchers to allow new ones to grow. So I did.
With Autumn officially here (22nd), my garden is preparing for hibernation. (So am I.)
With the exception of some general tidying and collecting of leaves, my gardening will mainly take place in the relative warmth of the Potting Shed and/or the Tiny Greenhouse (already the subject of their own, separate, posts) as I attempt to grow a succession of salad crops over the autumn and winter months and to start off sweet peas ready for next Summer.
And I embark on a new, non-garden related project in October as I begin a two-year Masters Degree in Creative Writing.
So this will be the final Monthly Roundup of 2020.
It’s been full-on in the garden this month as harvesting of potatoes, climbing beans and all things salad has continued. The freezer is slowly filling up with beans, and with foraged blackberries picked from hedgerows on our daily walk.
The weather has been ‘changeable’ (understatement) – which led to some lovely cloud formations – while Storm Francis battered the UK in the final week of the month. Damage in my garden was restricted to this pot of chard (past its best anyway), a tomato pot blown over but no damage, and a bent sunflower.
Bulbs, onion sets, and salad leaf/herb seeds have been ordered, though I’ve only received the seeds. The weed membrane for my allotment bed finally arrived, along with the tomato feed I’ve been trying to get hold of for months. (Note to self – stock up early next year).
Just when I thought it was safe to go back into the garden, another garden pest comes along to distract me. Initial research indicated a Japanese beetle; further research suggests a Garden Chaffer. It moved on before I could check its belly for spots.
We were supposed to be on holiday the first week of June; instead we holidayed at home, with glorious sun (for the first half of the week at least). A good job we weren’t away as the veggies needed almost daily watering.
I planted out my four largest climbing bean plants. One large and one smaller plant to each arch. I have a further three later sowings which I potted into individual pots mid-month. By the end of the month, one of my four beans had reached the end of its support wire and was beginning to traverse the horizontal cane towards the back of the bed. (I learned last year that if they scramble over the arch to the top, I need a stepladder to pick the topmost beans – much easier to try and reduce the height to a reasonable one).
Week commencing 18th May, and the temperature began to rise and rise. Wednesday was the hottest recorded this year in North Wales, with Hawarden Airport (7 miles away) registering 26C (my conservatory hit 43C and we had to open all the doors).
The pink clematis Montana finished flowering, leaving the prettier, but scent-less white one, which itself is almost finished as May ends. While clematis Alpina is quietly sending out new shoots in the background – so quietly that I snapped a couple of shoots while tying in some loose Montana. So I’m attempting to root cuttings from it.