Website of poet Elizabeth Rimmer

This Year and Next in the Garden

robin underneath witch hazel about to come into flower

I have been taking photographs of the garden now that the season has come to an end, with a view to planning for next year. In some ways it has been a lovely year, from the first flowers in spring

miniature daffodils

to the hot summer, which turned out to be so good for the bees and butterflies.

honey bee on michaelmas daisy
red admiral on michaelmas daisies

But in other ways frustrating. Much as I loved our holidays, I hate to be away when the garden is at its most demanding, and I struggled to keep up with the watering. Also, the harvest mite (known around here as the beery bug) had a very good year, which seriously limited my ability to be outside from july to the middle of September.

The results weren’t too bad, on the whole. The tomatoes did very well, although Moneymaker rates very low on the flavour front, and I shall go back to Harbinger or Ailsa Craig next year. The first lot of cuttings I took thrived, but the later ones failed completely, and I’ll need to have a better strategy for keeping them cool and damp until the first roots form.

I will need to take more care with sowing seeds, too. I’m used to having crops fail as the seeds are eaten by birds, and the young shoots by slugs, but it didn’t happen this time, and things needed thinning out badly. The new rose disappeared behind over-enthusiastic borage, evening primrose and extremely vigorous marigolds. There were even some volunteer nasturtiums self-seeded from last year – it was a jungle for weeks.

nasturtiums, marigolds and lavender

Most of my intentions are to keep doing what I’m doing, only more carefully, but there is one new project in mind. Early in the year I planted a bog myrtle,which seems to have settled well, in spite of the rampaging borage around it, and I’m hoping to use the leaves for dyes next year – they make a yellow that used to be regarded as iconic by Highlanders. But I’m also hoping to sow some seeds of heather and blaeberries – the bilberries or whortleberries of down south – to grow round it, with yellow flag and meadowsweet in the wetter ground by the pond. It will mean doing battle with the crocosmia already in residence, though, and I can see that being a problem.

I’m also planning to encourage the chickweed that turned up for the first time, and to move the rogue dandelions that turn up in the lawn to an overlooked bit of garden behind the shed. If anyone saw the weed colonies I am nurturing here they would probably wonder what I was doing, but they are so useful as herbs, I can’t get enough of them. There will be more plants for colour and scent, and for drying in the winter, but most importantly, more time and attention, and more room for everything to give its best.






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