After Agnes

Gardening can be a strenuous occupation. Storm Agnes, like most other storms, provided me with an extra workout as I rushed around the garden removing anything that might cause damage and moving pots to safer parts of the garden. Each time I swear that I will give up using plastic pots. However, mine are over ten years old and still have life in them, so I feel that I have to use them to the bitter end. I don’t have to worry about the pots made of natural materials as they are too heavy for me to remove. Maybe I am being overconfident, but I believe if I can’t move them a storm can’t either. Given my issues with Dahlias this year I had a very slight feeling of resentment as I lugged my flowerless dahlia plants to ‘safety’.

My crab-apples have had a disastrous year with the exception of this one – Malus Gorgeous. It leaves still look green and healthy despite Storm Agnes and the fruits are literally Gorgeous. All the other varieties suffered from the dry salt storm in June and never fully recovered. For the first time ever, none have produced apples and their status has moved from sick to possible terminal after the recent storm. I am hoping that the winter may give them time to rest and recuperate.

Despite losing all of its leaves in the storm this Rowan – Sorbus Aria Prattii managed to retain its berries. They will change to a vivid deep purple/pink in the next few weeks if the birds give them that long. In general, I would not advise growing Sorbus so close to the sea unless they have protection both from the wind and the salt.

In the last year I have had to give some thought to managing the garden in the future. I am not getting any younger and regular help is sometimes hard to find. I have thought of ways in which I could reduce the amount of work involved and ended up solving my problem in the usual way: starting a new and unnecessary project. It is amazing how it can take your mind away from other things. The wild bank behind my house ends at the driveway and the uncut grass hides a lovely small curved wall. I have decided to give the wall an airing and to try and have a neater separation between it and the bank. I will use succulents in this area. And have also moved a Grevillea lanigera ‘Red Salento’ here as it had become overshadowed by other plants.

This is the first Grevillea that I ever planted and it fascinates me. I have yet to see it without flowers and usually it is covered in them as it is at the moment. Salt storms, arid ground and Storm Agnes have had no impact on it and I am eager to find other low growing varieties if possible.

Details of Grevillea rosmarinifolia ‘Canberra Gem’ taken after Storm Agnus had passed.

It is hard to believe that Spindle – Euonymus europaeus – is native to Ireland. It seems so exotic. In my garden it is a veritable bird magnet a number of times during the year and I think that these seeds have only lasted because Storm Agnes forced the birds to find shelter and lay low for a while. Last year I counted over twelve varieties feasting from it at the same time and hope to catch the event again this year. With luck I will even have my camera with me.

I inherited a number of vivid blue hydrangea when I moved here thirteen years. I have always loved the contrast with Crocosmia lucifer. That is until this Summer. The latter have completely taken over a substantial part of a small vegetable garden and this year it was impossible to keep them upright. They also threatened to smother the lavender: Munstead Dwarf which are far more attractive to the bees. I have decided to redesign the area so that the lovely curved wall that they overpowered could be seen again. It has been a backbreaking task and I suspect that I will be removing corms for many years to come.

This is part of the lovely curved wall that has been hidden by the Crocosmia.

Another section of my curved wall. I am taking my time to select alternatives to Crocosmia but want to stick with plants that won’t be so overpowering.

A small section of the Crocosmia corms that resulted from the planting of one packet. Free to a deserving home!!!!!!!

While this looks like an old wall it was built about ten years ago. It holds back a bank and acts as an herb bed at the same time. The venerable gentleman is settling in well and looks as if he has been here forever.

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