As you probably know it gets a little wilder than usual around here at this time of year with the store, so I am swapping my monthly cottage garden posts for seasonal ones instead. Plus, what is left of the garden is quieter and resting too. This post is part of my paid collaboration series with Rhino Greenhouses creating a cottage garden here on the coast in East Sussex. The lovely folks over there set us up with our dream greenhouse and we (and nature) are doing the rest.
So, autumn is here? A magical September after an unusual August and then a warm October rushed in and now we are in with November! Autumn has swept in these last few weeks on the fresh sea breeze and brought with it lots of rain. The leaves are raining down like confetti outside but the Rhino is proving to be a haven of tranquillity – quiet, cosy and dry!
Winter salad and herb plants have been tucked in the gaps as they appear in the greenhouse, the basil and tomato harvest lasted well into October, we had pesto and roasted tomatoes in and on everything and I look forward to starting it all again next spring. Endless days of homegrown tomatoes are a real treat and we grew six types of basil this year, the favourites were Cinnamon, Lemon and Thai all bought from Jekka’s Herbs. After living with the cottage garden space for a season we decided to move a few things, the strawberries needed a new home, the mange tout will need a less windy site next year and the sweet pea avenue might need to become an arch?
For fun and seasonal joy we have planted up pots of autumn colour to go on the garden table, these will keep me company while saving and sowing seeds, planning ahead and spending time with Wallis who is still making the most of her basket under the staging. I decided on rich purple, maroon and orange – a smoke bush, heuchera (that will live here temporarily until I can get them in the ground) and some funny little succulents that were hiding out in the lean-to.
It is quite mild here despite the wild skies, so there is still time to raise some plant babies, I am always behind on my bi-annual seed sowing. Sweet peas next if I can find our root runners? If I manage to get them in and keep them alive they will hopefully develop strong root systems and be able to get going fast in spring, and surely early flowers are everybody’s delight.
The Dahlias have been vibrant colours of rich gold, red and orange bringing cheer to some very grey days. Before the gales arrived, I manage to save seeds from poppies, grasses, borage, fennel and peas. What I couldn’t catch has sown itself on the breeze and is already popping up in pots and around the edges of the cottage garden. I love to see what seedling magic turns up all by itself.
Back in the greenhouse, the great autumn garden tidy up has begun. Sweeping away the September cobwebs and moving spider nests to safe places outside. Ready with a bucket of eco-soap and a soft cloth to wash down all the glass, shelves and staging for autumn and winter crops to shelter indoors from the wind. The gales last month cleared the cottage garden annuals in two days, a little heartbreaking but a silver lining as always with gardening – the decision of what should be cut down was taken out of my hands, literally! Now a mountain of foliage, branches and seed heads have been felled chopped and piled up ready to be added to the compost heap at the bottom of the garden. Three bare root roses arrived today and one last thing before we put the garden to bed – planting bulbs, bulbs, bulbs. Did anyone else over order in excitement this year?! Wishing you cosy autumn days, Jeska x