What a damp, bedraggled looking garden, but still with a few flowers in bloom. Cornflowers and cosmos still flowering, as well as a climbing rose and various primula. The cotoneasters (C. franchettii) are looking bright and cheerful and the mahonia is a welcome source of scent for us and nectar for the bees. In this garden the viburnums are rather irregular in their habit and they are just in bud. They were attacked by viburnum beetle last spring but seem to have recovered remarkably well. They are some sort of Viburnum tinus, possibly ‘Gwenllian’. They are now large bushes and have really dark, glossy leaves.

In the vegetable garden

 This mild weather is giving my rather belatedly planted out leeks some good growing time. I have tried growing broccoli several times now and this year is as unsuccessful as the other times. I planted autumn broccoli and have tall, healthy looking plants but with no sign of any tender side shoots. They have been hosts to a large number of white fly but I am not sure that they have caused any damage. Broccoli will definitely be off the planting schedule from now onwards although I will leave these until spring to see what happens. Carrots, on the other hand, have been surprisingly successful. The second crop is now being harvested and they are very good. I have planted a small area with field beans as a green manure and they are looking very healthy.  Whether I will ever notice that they have enriched the soil in that area is another question.

The greenhouse

This is a cold greenhouse. The tomatoes and cucumber have finished and I must take them out and tidy the place up a bit. Some hardy annuals sown in the autumn have appeared and are looking strong – cerinthe and larkspur. I will be sowing sweet peas in the near future. Usually I have taken in the tarragon before now and must do it before the frosts arrive. I will also move the lemon verbena in case that can be saved for next year.

Next year

This is when I start planning for next year and for the first time we have no large changes to make to the garden. Getting the beds we already have up to a better standard is the plan. For the last couple of years I have had one small annuals bed (annuals planted onsite) and it has been interesting work but I think for next year I will make this a mixed bed and have more perennials.

Annuals bed July 2011

 My aim is to get as many herbs into the garden as possible but planted in a variety of locations including the rock bed and a number of perennial beds in different situations. More of herbs next time.