The Courtyard Garden has been pretty much surviving on damage limitation through the summer. Being south-facing (more or less) it suffered hugely with the hot summer, despite digging in bags of compost. I was also distracted by an excursion into an allotment experiment. But alas that has had to go, so I am turning full attention back to the courtyard.
First up is the the sad news that my apricot tree that I had moved from Birmingham to Cheadle and thence to Hartshill has not survived. I nurtured its few leaves through the summer but it finally succumbed.
It has been replaced by a ‘patio’ Victoria Plum. Allegedly this will not grow tall and I do like sun-ripened plums! Also in the picture is a blueberry recently potted up. Also in the pots are some winter pansies – more of those in a moment.
Because the garden is small I am wary of planting trees into the garden itself because of the danger of drain and wall damage, so fruit trees in pots will add some height without causing too many problems.
Today’s other job was to empty the wall troughs at the front of the house (not the courtyard obviously but worth a mention). Its a job I hate purely because it means discarding some plants that are still in flower, but needs be.
We had our first frost of the season at the weekend and the trailing lobelias and petunias really are getting sad. So out they come! The troughs have been replanted with winter pansies and violas. A little sparce at present but they will be a source of colour and winter nectar in no time,
Waste not want not – and being a tad – careful – I have salvaged the pelargoniums (geraniums) and some of the fuchsias for next year. The pelargoniums have been trimmed back and will be over-wintered in the conservatory ready to make a splash as established plants in the spring. Likewise the fuchsias, though they are more frost hardy.
Rather than bin all of the trailing fuchsias I healed a few of them into the edge of a border. They may not survive but at least they have a fighting chance. There are still two wall baskets in the Courtyard itself but they are doing well and is seems a shame to disturb them just yet!
Finally I cut back my lemon verbena (aloysia citrodora). I’ve had the mother plant for at least 11 years but it has become leggy, as these things do, so after taking cuttings I gave it a drastic prune. This kind of hard chop can be fatal to these kinds of plants but as it was no longer a happy looking specimen it was its only real option. Being a delicate shrub it also needed to com in for the winter.
That’s it from this week’s Courtyard Garden.