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  • Debi Holland

Garden News Magazine October 2021


Hope you enjoy reading my Garden News October 2021 gardening column in 'Over there Fence.'


Well autumn has certainly arrived. Many of my plants are now running out of steam and loosing their vigour as they prepare for hibernation. There is a pause, like the garden is catching its breath after a long journey. The last of the cooking apples and tomatoes have been picked and the sweet peas pulled out.


I have been doing a combination of frantic deadheading to promote new blooms and turning a blind eye, letting other plants elegantly slip into decay to leave overwintering wildlife a refuge from the fast approaching cold.


Our tree fern holds such wonder to me. After months and months of quietly gracing us with luscious green fronds, draped with dignity over fern corner, it won’t be long until I have to find some fleece and careful wrap up this carboniferous beauty for another winter. This act of protection is such a significant juncture for the changing of the season. It is always sad to see ‘Dicky’ hidden away behind fabric.


There have been a surprising amount of impressively HUGE slugs in the garden. Leopard slugs, Limax maximus, love my garden! They are the ‘good guys’ of the slug world and help keep other slug species in tow. They love eating decaying material so when I find any parading round the garden at night I put them in the compost bin where they can munch away to their heart’s content.

As well as slugs, I have noticed a tremendous increase in caterpillars and spiders. Early morning walks round the garden end up being a tricky operation to avoid the dew-laden cobwebs.


I have loved the late season plant combinations. ‘Sweet Honey’ roses rubbing shoulders with rudbeckia and echinops have looked sublime. The antique golden hues are like an autumnal ‘painting by numbers’ dotted round the herbaceous border. And in complete contrast Salvia ‘Day Glow’ has been blasting its intense fluorescent raspberry petals and scent in the face of anyone who walks by. I propagated some cuttings earlier in the year and have been pleased at the speedy progress one has made in the central flowerbed. I will definitely propagate more.

The thick layer of mulch applied in February really set borders up for the season. Weeds were minimal. In fact the only problems I had this year was with my over zealous strawberry plants and self seeded wildflowers. Evening primrose, ragwort and strawberry runners were incessantly unruly. There is going to be A LOT of thinning out this winter.

In August I bought four poorly zonal pelargoniums ‘Grandeur Classic Cardinal’ from my local greengrocers, after lots of nurturing they have bounced back! All are covered in spectacular bright blooms and have not stopped flowering for a couple of months! Soon be time to move them into the cosy confines of the greenhouse.

Highlight: The front garden ignited with perennial sunflowers, Helianthus x laetiflorus. Their sunny blooms welcome me home.


Photos © Debi Holland 2021