It’s October and it’s still warm! Bulb planting and drain pipe trellis time

What’s going on with the weather? Although it’s dark by about 6.30pm now, it’s still sunny and very hot in the day time. Not that I’m really complaining, but I wouldn’t mind a frost to start killing off the pests and diseases.

Echinacea purpurea 'Fatal attraction'
Echinacea purpurea ‘Fatal attraction’

Every gardening TV show and magazine says to use lots of the plants you really love in a small garden. I’d been struggling to think of plants I really, really like up until recently. Now some are starting to stand out to me and one of them is this Echinacea purpurea ‘Fatal attraction’. It’s an incredible hot pink / fuchsia colour and tall – it really looks fantastic in person. The flower buds before the petals open are particularly architectural. I’m looking forward to dividing this one next year if it makes it through winter!

To the right of it, you can see a tiny Brunnera macrophylla ‘Mr Morse’ which I’ve just taken from a larger plant to see if it will take over winter. This is a bit of a teaser for what I’m planning for next year for the design of the main flower bed, which will definitely feature some hot pinks and silvers to accompany it.

Below is my Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ which I absolutely love – the large leaves are incredible – but… it has blue flowers. Blue flowers are banished from the back garden next year! So ‘Mr Morse’ is the closest. I hope the leaves go darker.

Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' (top large) and 'Mr Morse' (bottom small - will they go darker?)
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ (top large) and ‘Mr Morse’ (bottom small – will they go darker?). The Mr Morse plants arrived dead but are springing back to life.

Speaking of plants I’ve fallen in love with, Dahlias are currently right up there. They’re just so clean cut and perfectly formed.

We have a lot of external pipes on the corner of the house, so I today installed a drain pipe trellis (see below) and I’ve prepped a large planter for a white spring flowering trailing rose arriving in October. I intentionally wanted a rose that flowered only in spring.

Drain pipe trellis
Drain pipe trellis

I mentioned in my August update that I’ve gone mad for white flowering spring bulbs. Well, I’ve gone madder. I’ve now planted:

On top of this white flower spree, I have also planted out a tonne of free dwarf daffodils I received, plus Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ and Allium ‘Sphaerocephalon’, The Sphaerocephalons flower in late summer in a dark purple so can stay in the back garden for the darker late summer theme, everything else will go out the front for the people of Clapham to see!

By the way, I highly recommend the supplier Anglia Bulbs. I was recommended them by a gardener and I have to say, their service and packaging has been outstanding and the bulbs deliciously plump and clean.

Allium White Giant, Anglia Bulbs
Allium White Giant, Anglia Bulbs

As you can probably tell, I am preparing and stocking up on plants for next year now that summer is over. I recently took a gamble on some cheap Salvia plugs from Ebay. I chose a selection of different cultivars with similar flower colours to see which works best. I have to say, despite some bug chomps, they’ve grown incredibly quickly given the time of year. One looks as if it’s about to flower if the frosts don’t beat it.

Salvia microphylla 'Cerro Potosi', Salvia 'Raspberry Royale', Salvia 'Maraschino'
Salvia microphylla ‘Cerro Potosi’, Salvia ‘Raspberry Royale’, Salvia ‘Maraschino’

And finally, here is a selection of some other nice autumn happening dans le Clapham garden.

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Jack Wallington

I'm an RHS qualified garden designer living in Clapham, London who loves growing plants and designing with them. Follow me on Twitter.

2 thoughts on “It’s October and it’s still warm! Bulb planting and drain pipe trellis time”

    1. Thanks Helena, I’m more pleased with the garden now than I was in the height of summer! I have a game plan for next year now though 🙂

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