In my garden, the Autumn blues are the gentians:This is gentiana macaulayi providing a bit of late colour in the scree bed.While g sino-ornata does the same in the peat-lovers’ section….And g. acaulis , which is supposed to flower in Spring, has decided on an Autumn show as well.
I often wonder why I bother with gentians. Every weed in the universe, especially horse tail and sorrel, enjoys growing through them. And it is rare at this time of year for there to be enough sunny days for them to open out fully. Yet, that pure deep blue at a time when most of the intense colours have gone from the garden provides a last coda to summer. In the height of the summer weeding It’s difficult to remember how valuable they are going to be, and I’m often tempted to rip them out and have done with them. But I don’t, and I’m usually grateful in the end.
The slices from the fallen beech have been split. A Hycrack splitter on the back of a tractor does the job in a couple of hours. It’s a genius device – just a simple corkscrew thing, which rips even the knottiest of logs apart, but at the risk of smashing your fingers – so you have to concentrate. The pile may look adequate, but there’s probably only about six weeks’ supply there, and I shall need to forage for more.Meanwhile, I’ve cut back the massive leaves of the gunnera tinctoria. They will make a last addition to the compost heap.
And the meconopsis have been put to bed for the winter. They will die back anyway, but if I have the time, I like to tidy them up, get rid of the buttercup and give them a top dressing of compost. It will save work in the spring.