I have always said that my garden was designed for infrequent maintenance, well recently I have been proving that.  Work and dog shows have conspired to leave me virtually no time at all in the garden.

Still the dog shows were worth it – last weekend I took Ruby to the Welsh Kennel Club Championship Show where she was Best of Breed from an entry of 84 Welsh Springers.

I have been really looking forward to this long holiday weekend so that I could catch up in the garden.  It was amazing how much better a little sweep up of the paths make the whole place look.  After that, I did some serious dead heading.  With a bit of luck it will not have been too late to persuade the plants that they had managed to fulfil their main purpose in life (from their perspective), that is to produce seed.  If have have managed that, then I should get a whole new flush of flowers.

Hand Stripping Hereocallis

Then it was on to the removal of dead foliage.  Most of this was just picking through the borders to remove the casualties of the very dry weather we have had this summer.   A few plants hadn’t made it and so were swiftly removed.  A plant that can look very untidy at this time of year is the hemerocallis or day lilies.  Some of their foliage has started to die back, but some is still green and is helping provide nourishment to the plant to get it through the winter.  Some people might just decide to chop it all down, but this would leave a hole in the border where it had been.  What I do to rejuvenate look of the plant is to “hand strip” it.  Those of you who use this technique for your dogs will understand what I mean, but let me describe it in a little more detail.  You will find that the dead brown leaves can just be pulled away from the plant with a minimum amount of effort.  If you try to pull a green leaf, you will find quite a bit of resistance.  So, what you do is just go round the plant removing the dead foliage and it will look a lot better :).

Whilst I really want the garden tidy for myself to enjoy it, there is another thought at the back of my mind.  In a few weeks we will be hosting a BBQ for our (canine) family.  We go for a walk in the New Forest first and then when the first exuberance of meeting up is dispelled a little, we come back to the house for the refreshments.  The garden does suffer a little with the number of dogs that are in it, but since it is the end of the season, there is really very little long term damage that can be done.  After all, in all too few weeks,  the first frosts will be with us and the herbaceous perennials will be making their way back into the ground for their winter hibernation.