September GBFD – Getting the garden back

September has brought with it some refreshing rain, cooler temperatures and regrowth of foliage.

I was surprised just how many plants underwent summer dormancy this year; the high temperatures, hot wind and no rain meant that even many of my drought tolerant plants looked miserable, well to tell the truth many looked dead!  But the plants were being sensible retreating beneath the soil, or leaving brown crusty leaves above to protect and presumably reduce the temperature actually hitting the plant.

Now it seems more like spring, with new foliage pushing through the soil.  I am appreciating this growth even more than in spring because this is proof that the plants aren’t dead, so reassuring that they mayflower now, if the weather doesn’t become too cold too quickly or that they have time to build some strength before winter and another period of dormancy.

Re-emerging thyme

Bit by bit this thyme lost all signs of green until I was almost convinced it was dead, it all looked like the part on the right in the image above; now, slowly, slowly new growth is pushing through the dead, maybe I should give it a ‘haircut’ to allow more of the green foliage space to grow.

After pruning the lavender in the formal beds I was dismayed that so much seemed dead; while it was flowering all appeared well, the usual huge number of bees, butterflies and other pollinators all testified that the flowers contained the usual pollen and nectar; but after pruning there was a lot of dead wood, I did give it some water but the hedge is long and so it didn’t receive very much and hey – lavender doesn’t need irrigation!  Now most of the old wood is shooting, if you look closely you can see tiny new leaves appearing, some are doing even better with lots of new foliage covering the plants; I think one or two bushes maybe dead but they were planted quite closely so I think those adjacent will knit together to reform the hedge.

Spot the new growth

Looking down onto the upper drive border you can see there is now more green than brown. Stipa tenuissima needs a bit of a comb but the new growth is there.

I have removed most of the Festuca around the garden; even those that aren’t dead are too full of thatch which is impossible to remove.  I have some small plants that are potted up seedlings and the plants that have more living material can be pulled apart to yield some new specimens.

This year it has been easier to get started with the autumn clean-up because so much of the foliage had stopped growing.  Seeing the Iris foliage cut and looking clean and fresh really makes me feel I am getting the garden back.

Iris foliage standing to attention

This year all the foliage of the Hemerocallis died back; I enjoyed pulling away the dead leaves and seeing tiny green shoots; within a week they have grown back, I think they may even flower again!  In the background the Nepeta has also grown back quickly after trimming away all the dead flowers and foliage.

As you come in the gate at the bottom of the drive, the prostrate Rosemary always look happy, they are even beginning to flower!  That is even earlier than usual, every time I pass there is a waft of bees and butterflies in the air.

New buds and foliage, Rosa Clair Martin

Many of the roses are putting on delicately coloured new growth, this is what feels like spring, best of all there are buds and flowers as well.

Now I’m looking forward to seeing what foliage is giving you pleasure now that autumn is here in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern.  Please just add a link to your post with your comment.  Thank you in advance I really appreciate you joining in this meme.

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20 thoughts on “September GBFD – Getting the garden back

  1. Fantastic that all your plants are responding to your rain and cooler weather, I always say that nature is wonderful and knows best! It must seem like spring in your garden with all the new growth, hope winter stays away long enough to give your new growth time to develop.
    The link for my post for GBFD is http://www.leadupthegardenpath.com

  2. They were talking about Festuca on Gardeners World this week. Carol K was saying it was hard to grow well, even the RHS Harlow Carr said they had got rid of it so you arent alone.

    It is amazing how resiilient plants are and I wonder how many plants are wrongly dug up because we are too impatient. I know that people were ditching plants the other year when we had had a really cold winter but come July my ceonothus which was looking very dead resprouted.

    A kinda foliage post is here http://patientgardener.wordpress.com/2012/09/22/how-did-they-get-so-big/

    • My Festuca have looked fine for 3 or 4 years but even before the hot weather this year they were full of thatch and an attraction only to the local cat population who thought them ideal as a toilet. I’ll wait to see how the seedlings grow otherwise I’ll just plant something else. Thanks for letting me know what Carol Kliene said and for joining in this month. I think the plants you showed have beautiful foliage. Christina

  3. I am glad you are enjoying your autumn spring with a lighter heart as your plants have shown you that they were made of stronger stuff than you could have expected.
    This autumn I have a lot of rearranging to do as plants have out grown their places.

  4. I’m very impressed with your neatness and tidiness, I must say (and with your planting, of course!!)

    You’re tempting me to have another go with a prostrate rosemary – some people think I have enough rosemary, but they’re wrong – as my last one was in the wrong place and eventually tried to come into the greenhouse through the glass. I do love its habit…

    • Yes, do try the prostrate rosemary again. I love the way it seems to wrap itself around the edge of the wall. I have some on the slope too, where it flows down like a slow-running stream. It is already in flower so will give some nectar to bees for most of the winter. Christina

  5. Hurrah for the return of so many of your plants, and new green foliage. I cut our small lavenders a couple of weeks’ ago, it seemed such a shame while they were still flowering (but the trimmings smelled wonderful) though I didn’t dare leave it much later.

    • I recommend pruning lavender early so that the foliage has a chance to grow and look good through the winter, then give another light prune in early spring; that way you’re not looking at dead stems during the winter months. Here I actually prune them three times a year; as soon as they’ve finished flowering in early August, again in mid- September and then in spring. I do this so that they don’t become too large. Because of the higher light levels, they will shoot from old wood, but I am always nervous they won’t. Christina

  6. It’s so interesting to get an oversight of what grows well in different parts of the world and to get a range of comments from different people. I too must try prostrate rosemary again – I seem to remember it doing well when I had it some years ago and then perhaps I moved up and it objected. I am keeping a mental note of all the lavender advice as I have just planted a lot of lavender in my rose garden and want to keep oit in check once it has established.

  7. so glad you have rain Christina, isn’t it amazing how seemingly dead plants push up life when they have a drink, I love the way your rosemary drapes it’s self over your wall, lovely colour and texture, Frances

  8. Christina, I’m glad some of your plants are survived after the heat and the new green leaves appear! The fall will bring new colors to your garden, I think this nice season is long time there.

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