Debate has begun about the season. Is it autumn yet or late summer? We're in one of those phases where nobody, least of all the weather, can make up their mind. Transition. I and my garden are in the same sort of place, almost at the end of the setup stage of The Big Garden Project 2016 and moving into ongoing gardening.
To remind you: this has been the year when I committed to working part-time (whatever that turned out to be) and therefore having time once again for my front garden, beginning with some landscaping. Here's my post about it at the beginning, in April, and here's a follow-up in May. I haven't written about it again here and it's time I did. But first, a repeat of the "before" photo.
Today I'm really enjoying seeing that photo because things are looking so different now. The landscaper said he was looking forward to seeing the beds in six months' time and I said it would be at least a year before it looked like much, but contrary to my expectations, the many perennials that I've grown from seed this year have mostly flourished and flowered already. Things are already bushing out much more than I expected and I've had a lupin flower.
This last is no mean feat because of slugs and snails but, this year at least, I've had great success with some organic slug pellets that are harmless to wildlife and pets. Even the vegetables have survived the molluscs, though pigeons and caterpillars are trying to make up for it.
I've bought about six plants from garden centres over the last few months and about the same number from market stalls and there have been a few plants donated from friends or Freegle members. And now, suddenly, here's a colourful and tidy garden again.
It's not perfect. The lawn has had a bit of a chequered history and still isn't the lawn I think I should have. The landscaping/maintenance team are working on getting it right and most of it is now improving but there's a way to go. There's still lots of convulvulus (known in our family as 'white convulsions' since it was described that way by someone known to the family, around 1960) and I'm waging a constant battle with handfork and weedkiller, the only way to kill it off where it has its roots entwined with things I want to keep.
Against that, though, there are so many things flourishing. Grown from seed and flowering in their first year have been mallow, commelina, gailardia, antirrhinum, gazania, pinks, sweet william, lupins, chrysanthemum, michaelmas daisy and penstemmon.
If you're a glutton for punishment, many more photos showing the landscaping, gradual planting and general progress of the garden can be seen here. I'm not sure there'll be many more added now as I don't think there's much more to flower that hasn't already done. One last setup job will be to plant spring bulbs during the next couple of weeks and then the setup stage of the project will be finished.
I would like to declare The Big Garden Project 2016 a success. I love being able to wander into the garden and admire the bees at work in all the variety of colours. The traffic noise will always be there but once again the garden is a place I can entertain friends and family. For me, 2016 seems to have been a good enough summer.