Well, for once, the weather is working with me.  It has been dry today and so I have been able to get on with more tidying up for the winter.  The job is almost done :).

I have found a few surprises as I tidied up.  One rose has decided to buck the trend and has gone for one last ditch attempt to flower.  Its buds look rather surprising against the lovely deep red berries of the Pyracantha.

There was also a Fuchsia defying the time of year.  It certainly was a sign of the times that I had to use my flash to be able to take photos at all, not what you really expect outdoors during the middle of the afternoon.

As you tidy up, lots of outstanding jobs become apparent, but there was one job that I almost forgot about.  As I prepared for the garden opening in June, I noticed that a couple of fence panels needed replacing.   To have had the job done then would have risked damaging the plants just before they were on show, so I put it on hold.  Luckily the panels are well protected from the vagaries of our weather as they are behind shrubs taller than them on my side of the fence and Leylandii on the other and so the fence is still standing – just!  I dare not risk them surviving any winter storms that may come our way, so the appointment has been made to get them replaced.  If the fence came down, the dogs might like the chance to explore our neighbours garden, but it would not be good for my state of mind!

You might want to go out and check your fences now – just in case.  If you have dogs, there is nothing worse than having a mad panic to get fence panels after a storm, just when everyone else is buying them too and they don’t understand why it is so important for your garden to be secure.

My pond garden is about to have a major change in its environment – and I am not doing anything to make it happen.

My previous neighbours planted a Leylandii hedge, just on their side of the fence.  True to its reputation, the hedge has grown very fast, and not been kept trimmed back.  It has therefore become rather tall.  Each year I trim back what I can reach on my side of the fence, but as the trees get taller and taller, this has become more and more difficult, and I have gained a tree covered archway into my garden from the side gate.

My new neighbour had the trees trimmed back a little when she first moved in a couple of years ago, but this has only slightly reduced their race for the sky.  She has now researched the growth habit of the trees and understands that they will not regrow from dead wood.  I am really glad therefore that she has decided that the trees should go.

The only thing is that this means that I am going to have to totally rethink the planting on my side of the fence.  Currently I have concentrated on plants that can cope with dry shade since the trees took a great deal of the moisture available and obviously created a great deal of shade.  The one thing that I don’t plan to change is the ideology that in this area of the garden, the key focus is green rather than bright flowers.  The pond garden has been designed to be a restful area, very different in feel to the rest of the garden.

I will have to wait until the trees come down to see how much more light we will get in this part of the garden.  Then I will have lots of fun deciding which plants will suit the new conditions and then seeing if I am right.  I will have to remember that my neighbour does plant to replant this area, possibly with shrubs, so there probably won’t be a great deal more moisture available.

Now I wonder if this project will give ideas to my other neighbour who has a Leylandii hedge on my border.  Thank goodness they do trim theirs every few years, so my garden hasn’t totally lost all the light, but I do wish that more people were prepared to wait a little for plants to grow and bought less vigorous options.