October is the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, the days are shortening and the light softens, and everything seems to flower from 6 to 8 weeks due to plentiful rain and moderate temperatures. Down at the bottom of my garden is the autumn border, which looks beautiful from August until the end of October. I dug that border myself, (when I was much younger), and it has the most marvelous loam. Neil (who helped me with a digger), said he had never come across such good soil except in a piggery. We have enormous clumps of Miscanthus Sinensis Yakushima Dwarf, three of them at the front of the border, not really dwarf as they are about 8ft tall, showing that you do not have to grade things back in height. Blue Aconitum Arendsi Carmichaeli are proudly standing, and not being staked, Asters, Panicum Warrior, Helenium Sahin’s Early Flowerer (it flowers for 3 months if you dead head it, which is worth doing), Leucanthemella serotina Eupatorium, Crocosmias, Anemone Hupehensis Bowles Pink, Euonymus Planipes, Kniphofia Rooperi and two huge Sorbus ‘Joseph Rock’ laden with golden berries. You walk down to the bottom of the garden and there is this uplifting sight of the border glowing with colour, and even with all this rain it will go on looking good until November.
October is a very busy month, there are all the tulip bulbs to plant, and we have already made notes of which borders they are to go in. Polly has already planted 700 pheasant eye narcicuss in the paddock, in front of the camassias. The method she used was lifting the turf, as it just takes much too long with a bulb planter. Now, that is really something to look forward to next year, as in May the Malus Transitoria are going to have white blossom, and be underplanted with the blue camassias and white pheasant eye. We hope that this is all going to happen at the same time. You never quite know with gardening, which is why it is so challenging. The other thing we do this month is to move and divide things. At this time of year you can see the width and breadth of the plant, whereas in spring you think you have a lot more space than you actually have. I have often been caught out this way. At the same time you are cutting back hard things which have become a soggy mess. We have moved delphinium Rosemary Brock down to the Klimt border, because she did not flower at all where she was. I think delphiniums are quite contrary. She is worth persevering with as she is the most beautiful dusky pink. We still have the main yew hedge to clip, and on friday I am going to see Harriets garden. I saw her mother out to lunch the other day and she complained that there were too many bare spaces in Harriets garden, so I will have to put my mind as to what we can do.
At the beginning of October I went to Graham Gough, at Marchants Hardy Plants. I really dont know why I bother to go anywhere else. His garden is an inspiration, even in October, with a lot of plants that I have never seen before. I am not sure that I have ever been at this time of year before, and it was fascinating seeing what was really special. I love for the garden to continue on until the end of October. He had a beautiful aster called Marina Wolkonsky, named after the owner of KERDALO, Prince Wolkonsky. I also bought the bluest panicum I had ever seen, Panicum amarum ‘ Dewies Blue’. The best aster in the garden is aster pink buttons, which is planted in front of Rosa Mutabilis. To cheer us all up we are going to include a picture of the sky in Corfu, and the sternbergias growing wild in Old Perithia.


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