The garden has finished its exuberant display of flowers, it is no longer filled with the melodic droning of bees and you have cut back the growth of spent perennials. The air is filled with the satisfying scent of Autumn bonfires and the compost bins are completely full of the ingredients of future compost, that in itself is an investment in the future. The Winter months, when nothing is growing in the garden, presents some opportunities for the gardener. It is a time when you can reflect on the last 3 seasons and cast a critical eye on your own garden and you can look forward to next years garden, for now is the time of the seed catalogue and the bare root season is upon us for shrubs, trees and roses. So crack open a bottle of wine sit-back, relax and peruse those catalogues and websites, one word of caution though, never place orders when the wine bottle is almost empty. If you ever wondered why you ordered so much of that seed you will perhaps know what I mean. I have enough Delphinium seeds to start a national collection.
The smell of Autumn bonfires
There is nothing so distinctive as the smell of an autumnal garden bonfire, the smell is unique and reminiscent of childhood days and of grandparents. Once the Perennials have been cut back and the beds mulched and manured, the produce harvested and preserved, the onions dried and stored, the pumpkins hardened off, the final ritual awaits, the burning of what cannot be eaten or composted. However, if you have the space please don’t forget to leave some habitats for insects and hedgehogs to over Winter under. The future resides in our hands and in moving away from chemical solutions to sustainable garden ecosystems. I always start a small bonfire and add material to it, in this way it is easier to contain and you do not roast any unsuspecting wildlife.
Manuring, Mulching and compost bins
We are lucky enough to have a large garden and it produces enough garden waste to feed our compost piles. We don’t have constructed compost bins, we have huge piles that decompose over a 3 year period and they produce fantastic compost that we sieve and use in the garden. If you have a smaller garden space then you can buy or construct smaller Compost bins or cages, you need 3 for the process to be effective. In the first year you fill the first bin, the next year you move the compost from bin 1 to bin 2, the process helps with the breaking down of the garden waste and in the 3rd year you move the contents of bin 2 to bin 3, from bin 1 to bin 2 and the new material goes into bin 1. In year 4 you have perfect garden compost and moving forward you will always have excellent compost, it’s free and has a small impact on the environment. For the really eager gardeners amongst you, you can also make leaf mould compost, for this you need either a contained wooden bin, wire cage or heavy duty plastic sacks. Simply fill with fallen leaves and cover with an old bit of carpet and wait until it has been broken down by the worms. You can mix both types of compost together and this will give your soil a real boost.
Our soil was fairly tired when we first moved here and we expect a lot out of our garden both with edible produce and with stunning floral displays from April through to the end of October. It’s a big ask. You cannot just take, you also have to give a little in return. We are lucky that our neighbours have horses and every Winter we drive backwards and forwards collecting well-rotted manure and covering all of the flower beds and vegetable gardens with a dressing of manure at least 8″ thick. All of the goodness of the manure is leached into the soil over Winter and provides feed for the plants, improves the composition of the soil and encourages good micro organisms. Healthy soil equals healthy plants, it’s not rocket science. The organic matter that is incorporated into the soil enhances the soils ability to store water and we improve this situation in the Spring by applying a bark mulch to a thickness of 6-8″, anything less is a waste of time energy and money. It reduces water evaporation through periods of hot weather and windy weather, you will find that plants thrive.
Casting a critical eye and forward planning
Magical gardens don’t happen overnight, they take time, energy, money and thought. We change things every year here in the Moosbach Garden, I think it takes quite a few years until you find the final home for each and every plant. Sometimes the plant will tell you that it’s in the wrong place by not thriving and sometimes it will shout out at you every time that you walk past it that it’s the wrong colour or size for where it is. This is normal and you have to take your time with these things, you cannot really expect to have placed every plant in its perfect position at first attempt. One trick I use is to pretend that the garden is not mine (we can be a little precious about our own), I pretend that it is a garden that I have paid to visit and view it as critically as I would somebody else’s garden. But be kind to yourself, if you find areas that just don’t work in your garden just make a note and tweak things.
Part of this review process is thinking about what you do differently next year, about what plants you lift and split, which plants to move and what new acquisitions need to be made. Your post box should be awash with seed and plant catalogues, seeds can ordered, delivered and can sit in your potting shed awaiting the warmer weather of Spring. There are, however, things that need immediate action, trees, shrubs and roses can be ordered and delivered between November and March. They can be planted straight away as now is the perfect time to plant whilst the soil is still warm enough to encourage new root growth without the stress of supporting leaves, flowers and new stem growth. We only plants shrubs and trees in the Autumn and have found that they settle quicker and don’t struggle as much in the first year as those planted in Spring.
The Moosbach Garden Online shop is now open
As you would expect from gardeners who are so obsessed with David Austin Roses we have a wonderful new Selection for you to choose from. As well as the many new varieties that we have for you this year, we have some favourites returning and due to the sheer volume of requests from customers we have added 4 varieties of standard roses all of which are stunning. Bare root roses are available now, as are potted roses. Also don’t forget that we offer overnight stays at the Moosbach Garden that include a 4 course evening meal including produce grown organically here in the Moosbach Garden. Dates are available from December onwards. Next Spring will see the return of the hugely popular Moosbach Garden Picnic hampers, which can be enjoyed in the Moosbach Garden. Gift Vouchers can be purchased via our website for roses, overnight stays and picnics.
So let’s talk about roses!
We have chosen 4 varieties that we know are totally amazing. Gertrude Jekyll (Pink) has the most glorious perfumes and is our top selling rose, Darcey Bussell (red) is stunningly beautiful, Desdemona (White) is one of my favourites with a beautiful form and lovely perfume and Graham Thomas (Yellow) is one of the best Yellow roses around, it has a beautiful flower and perfume.
We have the following varieties available: Gertrude Jekyll, Graham Thomas, Spirit of Freedom, Strawberry Hill, Tess of the D’urbervilles and Wollerton Old Hall.
We have 3 varieties for you: Bobbie James, Francis E Lester and Paul’s Himalayan Musk. Moosbach Garden tip, if you want to attracts Bumble bees to your garden, Francis E Lester is the perfect rambler, is stunningly beautiful and our favourite rambler.
We have Roseraie De L’Hay for you which grows 2 Metres tall and wide, repeat flowers and is simply stunning, if you want a staement plant then this is a good choice.
Ok, now you may need to buy a new garden to accommodate the varieties that we are offering you this year, there are so many that I am going to list them by Colour.
Pink Roses: Boscobel, Brother Cadfael, Emily Bronte, Gentle Hermione, Gertrude Jekyll, James, L Austin, Jubilee Celebration, Olivia Rose Austin and Wild Edric.
Red Roses: Darcey Bussell, Falstaff, Munstead Wood and Thomas A Becket.
White Roses: Desdemona, William and Catherine , and Winchester Cathedral.
Yellow Roses: Golden Celebration, Jude the Obscure and Vanessa Bell.
Orange Roses: Lady Emma Hamilton, Lady of Shallot, Summer Song, The Lady Gardener and The Lark Ascending.
You can order all roses on line by clicking here. You can collect your roses in person or we can post them out to you.
Why not order a Gift voucher for a rose, overnight stay or a picnic as a Christmas gift.