For gardeners, October marks the end of a season and the beginning of new plans. The daffodils now have their roots well established in the ground, the autumn crocuses are saying their final farewells and there is a chance to catch up with maintenance. For us this means indoor painting, washing plastic pots and clearing down the greenhouse again.
It is also an excellent time of year to sow sweet peas.
At Easton, we grow over 75 varieties of sweet peas every year and we sow them in succession. In October, the first batch goes into the longest pots we can find. Sweet peas love a good deep soil so any pots that can encourage the roots to point firmly downwards and not curled up like a sleeping cat is good. Then, we treat them rough. The best flowering sweet peas like a hard life over the winter. Put them in a cold frame and they will stay focussed on root production rather than masses of green topgrowth. If they do get carried away during a warm spell we pinch the stems back to a pair of leaves to stop them wandering off.
While we are sowing seed we still need to think about the position of other autumn sown hardy annuals like Ammi majus. Sown before winter they will make six foot of frothy white flowers next year. Depending on the number of plants that make it through to spring we may use it alone or mix it with Consolia regalis ‘Blue Cloud’. They are both tall airy plants that look good in any part of the border. Like the sweet peas we can sow more in the spring for a later crop.
The weeding doesn’t let up while it’s still mild and damp. Late germinating weeds are enjoying having bare patches of ground all to themselves. Weeding in the rain on a calm day is very satisfying. The ground is so damp that the weeds slide out if you put a fork under them. If you are very organised you could put crocus or tulip bulbs in the hole and get two jobs done in one.
Originally published on www.alantitchmarsh.com (01.10.10)
For the last few weeks we have been clearing the meadows. This is a timeless process as our meadows are maintained in the same way as ancient hay meadows.
The grass is cut with a modern Allen Scythe, raked into rows and then piled into mounds of hay before being cleared away. As the rows dry, the last flower seeds drop onto the ground below. These germinate in the spring in any patch of clear ground.
We have nearly finished harvesting our sweet peas too. Bags of seed are collected and hung in the greenhouse to dry out, then we need to clean out all of the pods before the seeds are packed away.
It might sound simple, but the process is actually very time consuming. All of our peas have been assessed throughout the summer. Each variety is marked with separate coloured labels depending on how happy we were with the quality of the flowers on each plant.
This is very important to ensure that each variety comes true from the best seed. These seeds are then available for us to grow and for you to buy. Some of our varieties are available to purchase on the online shop, but please do contact us if you are looking for something in particular.
With best wishes,
From us all at Easton Walled Gardens.
Pumpkin rolling is back! Between 23rd – 25th and 27th October, we are holding our very special Children’s Week at the gardens.
Along with the ancient game, kids will be able to take part in a fantastic range of activities including snail feeding and learning how to pot their own plants.
For more information, please visit our website.
Win a place on a workshop
Our Autumn Workshop Week is just around the corner, so we’re giving you the chance to win a place on a course of your choice*.
With everything to make from wreaths to chocolate, there is something for everyone to enjoy within the idyllic surroundings of the gardens.