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Scott Smith takes an autumn breather from gardening, before starting again

With the garden suddenly - and briefly - less demanding, Scott decides to take a break before starting all the autumn jobs of ripping out and composting the annuals as well as trimming, tidying and scarifying

Summer fruit and veg is coming to a stop.
Summer fruit and veg is coming to a stop.

Driving. Relentless. The heavy splatters streaming down the window make me so very grateful to be inside and warm.

A weather warning is in place as I write this. The whole weekend a total washout.

Thankfully my schedule is presently non-too demanding and I can instead have a leisurely writing session to speak to you.

Log fire on and hot coffee steaming in hand, I am at the window gazing out across my garden this morning I am surprisingly grateful for the respite.

We are not made to go and go forever. I suppose sometimes a little rest is a great thing to help revitalise body, mind and soul.

I know come Monday I will raring to go back into the garden again, having had a weekend cooped up.

Wildlife hedge has been pruned hard and the stems re-used.

Favourite time

Autumn is always my favourite time of year. There is a feeling of accomplishment.

As plant senescence begins, I feel I’ve done my job. Temporarily. I always say there is no time we stop in the garden.

Not really. Instead minute, fleeting moments make for gardening stop gaps. This is one.

All the hectic work in spring of raising plants and veg rolls thunderously into summer which flashes by into now.

I always embrace this time of year as nature’s pat on the back for a spring and summer well served.

It’s a breather before we kick back into action for all the work of late autumn and winter yet to come.

Lawns have been slitted, scarified and fed.

Circle of life

For many ripping out all the plants you’ve spent all season growing and tending can be a sad event. I on the other hand, find it very cathartic.

I am grateful for all the joy they have brought. The colour, perfumes, fauna they have fed and unique shapes that act as gorgeous foils to the monotony of the spaces they fill.

I prefer to be grateful for what they have done, I celebrate and thank them for their work.

They will end up in the compost heap and in two years’ time will be spilled out across beds and borders to feed the soil with their crumbling, nutritious filled goodness.

It is a magical process gardening. The circle of life indeed.

Cracking on with autumn jobs

It’s been a busy old time over at Beechgrove Garden. Asides from ripping out and composting all the annuals we’ve been smashing all those late summer and early autumn jobs.

The yew, beech and hawthorn hedges have all been trimmed now and the mass of clippings tidied up.

The lawns have just been slitted and scarified twice with the thatch and moss being spread along the perimeter fence lines to suppress the weeds.

An autumn lawn fertiliser has also been spread to help feed the lawns and allow them that vital Phosphorus boost to help the roots remain strong and healthy during winter hibernation.

Janice, Rod, Sue and Margaret clearing the sweet peas.

The massively overgrown wildlife hedge had become just a bit too unruly and had decent prune back.

Many hazel stems were large and have been kept aside to be re-used for making obelisks and plant supports.

Lizzie Schofield came and poached all the other reasonable sized and pliable stems from the hazels and hawthorns to make a woven hurdle edge for her new border at Beechgrove Garden.

The hawthorn of course is very spiky and thorny and needed stripped right back to the smooth stem with secateurs before they can be woven.

Autumn is setting in.

Sorting veggies

The veggies in the mixed veg plot all get a good sorting too. Main crop tatties are all lifted and cleaned then dried for storing.

It is amazing how easy it is to miss a few. You dig and lift. You then turn the soil and a rouge tattie pops out.

You turn it once more for good measure and two more rogues pop out. Hmmm, best check again.

You turn it again and nothing this time. You pop the fork down and there on the surface lies another tattie.

A beautiful Fuji cherry- Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’.

It feels like story of the Lernaean hydra. The last clingers on of runner and French beans are harvested and the plants then ripped out.

The carefully constructed teepee supports knocked down in mere seconds. The same goes for the wigwams which the sweet peas have called home for a busy and floriferous summer season.

The courgettes, kale and broccoli are all on a countdown to failing productivity. They will be picked and used until they stop providing the goods.

Not long until late autumn then winter arrives and we begin a whole new phase of jobs but for now I enjoy the rest and I reflect of the season that’s been.

Take care and happy gardening.

Summer fruit and veg is coming to a stop.