October 2011                                                                                                          Back to September


Saturday 1st

14 to 27 to 17°C. Hot and sunny with a clear blue sky. High thin cloud by late afternoon.


One of the hottest days this year and what were we doing? Continuing the cut out the back of a 60metre 2metre high cupressus hedge, cut it up and move it; logs to store till they are dry, branches and twigs to be Chipped and shredded. We must be mad, but we have started so we will finish (hopefully before it inevitably comes cold and wet by the middle of next week.)


Sunday 2nd

12 to 22 to 17°C. Overcast and humid with light rain by evening.


Outside early so I could finish cutting out the remaining parts of the hedge but the chainsaw wasn't working. Eventually discovered that the short cable running from inside it to the plug attaching it to the main cable had flexed once too often and the wiring inside had failed. It was one of those molded connectors which you can't take apart. They seem to put these on all electrical appliances these days; something to do with safety I suppose - probably yet another EU directive. Trouble is when they go wrong you can't easily fix them.


The manual, as usual, says not to replace them with an ordinary cable connector so what are you supposed to do? The only way of course was to do just that but that meant taking the chainsaw apart to get at where it connected up inside. At least it didn't have tamper proof screws to stop you doing so - last year we had a kettle with a similar problem which couldn't be taken apart because of this and ended up being replaced though nothing else was wrong with it. What a waste!!


So two hours later I finally fixed it with a short piece of 13A flex and connectors which can be taken apart (fortunately always have spares of commonly needed electrical items like this ) and it was nearly lunchtime and becoming increasingly grey. Even so I did manage to cut down the rest of the hedge behind the garage before it started to rain.


Monday 3rd

15 to 25 to 15°C. Sunny, becoming cloudy by late afternoon. probably the end of the warm spell.


Cut up and cleared away most of the rest of the back of the hedge. Just a few stumps to cut down further. I have ordered 250 100cm bare root privet to come some time in November or December so the next job is to clear the land enough to dig a trench all the way down the garden to plant them in and I may need to dig up some of the stumps. At the same time I also ordered 10 viburnums to replace the failed plants in the hedges I planted last year along the road and a Commice pear tree.


Tuesday 4th

8 to 18 to 14°C. Thin high cloud and a strong westerly breeze.


Wednesday 5th

14 to 19 to 16°C. Overcast and humid with a warm SW breeze and occasional very light rain.


Finally cleared away all the dead and cut wood from behind the hedge and started raking out the smaller debris so I can start to dig over the soil and remove any old roots before planting the new hedge.


Thursday 6th

8 to 16 to 9°C. A few sunny intervals but mainly heavy cloud with a cold NW wind. Rain by late afternoon and intermittently in the evening.


Cleared some of the ground behind the hedge and started to dig a long trench 30cm deep and 60cm wide to plant the new hedging. Was surprised how easily it was to do this - the soil is in much better condition than I expected. Of course I had only done a couple of metres before the rain came. The rest might be full of roots, clay and stones.


Friday 7th

7 to 15 to 8°C. Sunny intervals interspaced with short heavy showers.


Continued with the trench and the soil is still good quality and almost free of stones and roots. Now done around 1/3 of it.


Saturday 8th

8 to 14 to 11°C. Overcast and damp


Not feeling very well today so didn't do much.


Sunday 9th

8 to 20 to 15°C. Overcast with a warm SW breeze


Still not 100% but managed a couple of hours digging more of the trench, including taking out two small tree stumps.


Monday 10th

14 to 19 to 15°C. Overcast with the same warm breeze


Tuesday 11th



75% of trench dug but the last 25% is the hardest part with several large stumps to dig out.


Wednesday 12th

ditto again. This weather is getting rather boring, as are my gardening reports.


Thursday 13th

10 to 18 to 14°C. Still overcast with a warmish southerly breeze.


For a change decided to take down the cane structure in the polytunnel which trained the squashes, all of which have now died back. One of the most unsuccessful years for pumpkins and butternuts but we have enough to last through the winter stored upstairs in the house.


We still have plenty of aubergines, peppers and smaller tomatoes so these I will leave for the time being.


Some time soon the weather will change to cold nights and I will be glad I made space inside the polytunnel for the pots of begonias, geraniums and gloxinias. Later it may become very wet, forcing me to move the pots of chrysanthemums inside as well.


Friday 14th

7 to 17 to 7°C. Overcast with a light variable breeze and a few sunny intervals.


Nearly finished the easy part of the trench. Now comes the part with the large stumps to remove.


Pat decided to move the summer pot plants out of the conservatory, calla lilies, begonias, trailing fuschias etc. They can go inside the polytunnel for rest and protection. Tomorrow some of the geraniums and gloxinias growing outside will be coming inside so they can continue flowering for a little longer.


Saturday 15th

3 to 15 to 7°C. Thin cloud and milky sun. Red full moon as it rose just after dusk.


Slight signs of a grass frost this morning so we definitely need to start thinking about either moving sensitive plants into the conservatory or polytunnel or, in the case vegetables like celery and peas, or strawberries, covering them with fleece.


Sunday 16th

6 to 17 to 10°C. Sunny intervals with very light breeze. Drizzled a little in the evening.


Decided to cover the peas and beans with fleece. I was just going to use V shaped wire mesh covers but the recent warm weather has caused them to grow much larger than usual. So we made a larger frame out of canes fastended together with plastic ties. A much bigger job; I only hope it was worth it!!


Continued to clear up in the polytunnel, emptying the soil out of the pots used to grow the squashes. Some of this will be re-used for strawberry runners and winter flowering pot plants.


Monday 17th

7 to 15 to 7°C. A few sunny intervals but with a blustery and cold westerly wind and some light rain late afternoon.


Continued to clear the poytunnel. I now have 96 8cm and 144 12cm pots filled with potting compost for the strawberries and winter bedding when it comes.


Ordered the wild bird food for the winter. This, like all food, is getting very expensive. nearly 50% more than 2 years ago. Almost £80 for 25kg of sunflower seeds and 25kg of peanuts.Frown


Tuesday 18th

2.5 to 11 to 5°C. Clear night after early light rain then thin cloud with a cold westerly wind and a few spots of rain.


Very cold overnight. Not frosty because of the wind but more cold nights are forecast. It is mid-October afterall.


So spent a very busy afternoon finishing clearing out everything but the tomatoes, aubergines and peppers from the polytunnel, digging and raking the soil and covering it with woven polythene. Then Pat helped me move all the tender plants in pots into the polytunnel, begonias, fuschias, geraniums and various summer bulbs.


Wednesday 19th

4 to 12 to 5°C. Cold with blustery showers.


Between the showers it was calm enough to lay fleece over the celery bed and the structure we built over the peas and beans.


Moved the taller chrysanthemum pots into the polytunnel to protect them from the wind and rain. The blooms get very heavy when full of water and might even break their stems. Some commercial growers protect them with canopies of fine mesh which is probably better than polythene since they might damp off inside.


Cold enough to light the log stove tonight for the first time. Good job I remembered to sweep the flue last week.


Thursday 20th

3 to 11 to 7°C. Cold overnight then a few short showers in the morning. Mostly cloudy later. 


The winter bedding I ordered came at lunchtime; Primrose Rosebud and Bellis Perennis, 72 of each. Planted into 12cm pots. 12 primroses will go in the conservatory and the rest will be placed outside in fromt of the house once they get going.


Friday 21st

7 to 16 to 10°C. Thin cloud with a warmer southerly breeze.


Back to digging the trench for the new hedge. The hard part with the stumps to removeFrown


Later started to clean up the chrysanthemums I moved into the polytunnel on Wednesday. With TLC and weather not as cold as last year these should keep blooming well into December with lots of flowers to bring into the house.


Saturday 22nd

6 to 13 to 9°C. Sunny with patchy cloud and a cool blustery breeze.


It's the weekend so more time for the garden; time to cut down the remaining trees behind the hedge near the road, including a large branch which was partly broken off the big cypress several months ago. The wind was just about the right strength and direction to help bring them down.

The result will be yet another large pile of logs and branches for shredding should I finish it tomorrow if the weather holds.


Sunday 23rd

9 to 16 to 13°C. Thin cloud with a few glimpses of the sun. Strong southerly breeze.


Managed to fell all but one of the remaining trees before it became too windy to be sure where they would fall and, since the last one was close to the road, decided to leave it to a calmer day. Even so it took most of the morning and afternoon to cut up the ones we had felled into manageable pieces and strip off the twigs and small branches. You don't realise how big a tree is until it is lying on the ground!!


Tomorrow I think I will do something a little less strenuous.Smile


Monday 24th

12 to 17 to 12°C. Thin cloud with a few sunny intervals. Gusty SE wind. Rain late evening.


Pat called me from my work this morning to help her round up the chickens which had escaped when part of the netting round their run was blown down. All three of them were contentedly scratching away under the Bramley, not really doing any damage. With two of us it was quite easy to move them in the right direction back into their run under the rest of the apple trees.


Nice easy job cutting out the runners from the strawberry beds and planting them into 8cm pots. 80 each of the early and mid-season varieties (sorry - can't remember the names). I will raise these in the polytunnel till they are well rooted and then plant them back inside the fruit cage under fleece early next spring. If enough survive ( I only need around 40 of each outside) I might try raising a few inside the polytunnel as well.


The third late variety doesn't produce runners and needs to be propagated by splitting the plants instead though they seem quite healthy at the moment so I may not bother for next year.


Tuesday 25th

8 to 13 to 8°C. Thin cloud with a hazy sun. Light sourtherly breeze but feeling cooler.


Spent all afternoon trying to remove a large stump from the path of the new hedge; not very successfully since the roots go very deep into the ground. It looks like I may have to just cut it down to ground level and plant the hedglings on each side of it. Not the best option; it will rot eventually but that rotting could affect the hedge.


Wednesday 26th

3 to 12 to 6°C. Clear in the morning with a cold southerly breeze. Became overc ast by mid-afternoon with some heavy rain showers till late evening.


Continued to tidy up the chrysanthemums in the polytunnel. It felt cold even in there. The breeze might be from the south but, because there is a deep depression to the west, it source is actually from the Arctic.


Thursday 27th

6 to 12 to 7°C. A miserable day with light rain or drizzle most of the day only clearing after dusk.


Friday 28th

3 to 12 to 4°C. Sunny but with a cold SE wind.


We are going to visit the family tomorrow so picked some Bramley and Russet apples to take for Sarah. There wer still plenty on the trees but the Russets had grown so big that some of them were splitting. I don't remember that happening before.


Continued to tidy the chrysanthemums. I will pick some tomorrow morning to take for Kirstin.


Saturday 29th

3 to 12 to 11°C. Sunny intervals in the morning. Some rain later. Feeling warmer by evening.


Drove down to Kirstin and Mark's in the morning. Sarah, Thomas and Cowan were also there but not Euan, who had and upset tummy and had stayed at home with Ian. Spent most of the day playing with the children and talking to the adults. They had a Halloween party with a pumpkin and sparklers and scary masks after it came dark but then we had to leave them to come home.


Sunday 30th

9 to 15 to 12°C. Thin broken cloud and only a slight breeze. Feeling warm for the time of year.


Took the opportunity while it was still to fell the last of the trees behind the hedge, the one nearest the road. Managed to safely fall both of its stems up the drive. By the time we had cut them up and cleared them away it was nearly dark - the clocks moved back this morning so we get one hours less daylight in an afternoon. Looks like ,as usual, I need to rearrange my daily routines to get more time in the garden while it is light.


Monday 31st

12 to 16 to 12°C. Rained most of the day.