Monique Gudgeon, Sculpture by the Lakes
” Never look at a failed plant as a loss, …always a new planting opportunity…”
As we edge closer to autumn and swap warm summer evenings for cooler nights, my thoughts turn towards tidying the garden for winter. Although I love the exuberance of the garden in summer, when all is heavy with flower and fruit starts to ripen on the trees, it all tends to get a bit messy as autumn comes in and I itch to get going with secateurs, shears and rake. I resist the temptation to the last possible moment though, because of course, this time of year is one of the most important for the wild creatures that share our gardens.
Late flowering plants, seed heads, fallen fruit, leaf litter, dead stems and grasses – all these form the basis of the winter larder and warm cosy nests, and are vital in keeping wildlife alive during the winter months. So I keep my tidying impulses well under control and enjoy the garden for the remaining warm days.
Of course it’s not all about shutting down for the winter because we are fast approaching that time of year when spring flowering bulbs need to go into the ground, or into pots for early displays. Planting bulbs is such a positive thing to do when the days are getting shorter; when the days start to lengthen again and those first green shoots appear you realise you have a whole new growing season to look forward to and spring is nearly here.
I have already ordered my tulips for the containers that will sit around the café terrace – a mixture of red and purple this time – plus a variety of new alliums will be going into the house borders together with some foxtail lilies. These lilies love dry conditions and of course last winter was so wet that all my specimens rotted in the ground, but I am determined to give them another try. One of the joys of gardening is that determination to look for the positive; as a fellow gardener once said to me, “never look at a failed plant as a loss, look at it as a new planting opportunity!” Wise words and a mantra that is often quoted…