Developing the autumn garden

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Aerial shot of the garden on a wintery summer's day

In spite of the continued drizzle today, I still sat on my thinking chair on the patio and came up with plans for this autumn. I’m very pleased with my garden, looking full with a touch of colour as well as lots of green. Now, I want it to stay that way as much as possible in the coming months as well as sort it out for next year.

I’ve mentioned a few times about getting rid of the blackberry bush, as it takes up an incredible amount of space and it has started producing sister plants with thorns. The truth is, though, my daughter and I (as well as neighbouring children on occasion) get so much pleasure from picking the berries that it will be hard to let it go. In other words, it needs to be moved to a less obtrusive spot.

That can’t happen until I have dug up the last of the hawthorn bush and taken down the back fence. Then the wheelie bins can stand where the gate is and I will still be able to get them out for the refuse collection. It also means I can continue with my project to put in a new path, through the middle of the garden rather than at the side. This new path will also be much slimmer than the other, so more room for plants instead of wasted space!

I will need to source some paving stones, or perhaps bricks, for the new path. Freecycle worked for me earlier in the year, so that might be where I go next time. I have in any case got bricks that I intended for a herb garden, although I need to get rid of the Wendy house and rehouse its contents before I can develop that. (Looks like the cupboard under the stairs is just going to get more cluttered…)

Back in the here and now, today I thinned out the Florence fennel, which is growing by the apple tree. A friend of mine managed to get bulbs out of thinnings I gave her last year, so today’s have been put elsewhere in the garden.

One of these places is where the first batch of phacelia grew. In accordance with permaculture methodology, this has not been dug in. Instead, I trimmed it down, which actually meant some if it was pulled up, and then I planted the fennel seedlings in its place.

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Former phacelia patch

The concept of permaculture, as I understand it, is that the soil is disturbed as little as possible. One reason for this is because soil is living matter and when it is turned the organisms in the top layer can no longer do their work. To add insult to injury, dormant weed seeds come to the surface and start producing (don’t I just know that from my allotment days!). So rather than dig in green manure the idea is to leave it on the surface but old habits die hard – I don’t want to wait for it to decompose in situ (and possibly deplete the fennel of nitrogen in the process), so the phacelia has gone in the compost bin. In any case, the phacelia did prevent weeds taking hold, which is definitely an added bonus.

The other place I’ve replanted some fennel is where one of the rocket bushes used to be. These are incredible! But like blackberries, they do tend to take over – and unlike the latter, how much of the stuff do you really need. As it is, I’ve now frozen enough rocket to last me a couple of months at least. And I’ve still got another bush for fresh leaves. Not bad, eh?

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Fennel round the rhubarb

© Helen Butt, August 2014

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About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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17 Responses to Developing the autumn garden

  1. Haha that’s cute. I’m also contemplating the fall garden. I didn’t have fennel finding rhubarb, though. 🙂

  2. lizard100 says:

    I enjoyed reading this plan. It’s good to know that you’re thinking the way that I’m thinking. I’m always considering new variations. I have the same thing with my blackberry but it’s not in a bad spot. I just need to keep pruning. I’m also interested in permaculture I need to Learn more.

    • Thanks! I’ve only just started learning about permaculture, so am sure there must be a lot more to it than not digging the soil. I’ve joined my local permaculture network and am going to the first meeting at the beginning of September.

      I do need to change the garden one way or another. It started out with simply getting rid of a garden of hideous bushes and has morphed into something very exciting.

      Perhaps not surprisingly, people keep asking me when I am growing to grow my lawn back and children (apart from my daughter) invariably call the garden a mess. However, aesthetically it pleases me far more as well as being a more attractive place for wildlife etc.

  3. I love your garden. It’s really coming along and looks so CUTE! I can tell you are already looking forward to the next growing season too.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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