In the September and October editions of In and Around Magazine’s Gardening Focus, where Gillian returns as guest writer after a one year break:
Editors’ Welcome: We are absolutely delighted this month to welcome back Gillian Goodson as author of our Gardening Focus page. Gillian is a renowned landscape and garden designer and it’s a huge privilege to have her writing for us, sharing her extraordinary knowledge and enthusiasm within these pages.
It is such a wonderful feeling when you haven’t seen a friend for some time and you are super excited at the thought of catching up that you can’t sleep. Do you know that feeling? When you have 50 questions buzzing around in your head? All the things you want to ask them… that big gush that’s close to bursting? In the end, it doesn’t really matter. You are just so happy to be in their presence… to soak up and bathe in the glorious joy of being reconnected.
So, have you had a good year? How’s your summer? Perhaps a summer romance to sing about? Summer wounds that need cauterizing? A record-breaking summer and our gardens have felt the effects just as much as we have. When plants ignored textbook expectations. It really is the best way to learn – to take note of what actually happens in your garden and around you. Use descriptions as a guide as after all it is Nature and like all interesting characters, it evolves, and has its own rules.
A big part of my year has been running courses, and RHS Chelsea Flower Show. I have been fortunate to work with Sarah Eberle over the years and to be considered her right arm. Sarah is an internationally renowned, multi-award winning designer and we were back at Chelsea on Main Avenue. That meant three very long, physically demanding weeks (no days off!) of build time and planting, but worth every ache and bruise. We had a fantastic team and sponsors, and were thrilled to receive RHS Gold medal and also Best Construction Award.
The most asked after plant was Digiplexis – a cross between Digitalis (foxglove) and Isoplexis. It is a gorgeous, delicious raspberry colour with upright flower spikes, flowering in early spring and fingers crossed, will continue to flower for months. Mix with lime greens such as Euphorbia seguieriana subsp. niciciana (spurge) for a striking combination.
Jobs for September: Order trees for planting as the weather cools. Don’t be tempted to move shrubs before autumn sets in. If you are lucky enough to grow your own vegetables then reap what you have sown. For lawns that have suffered, now’s a great time to scarify, feed and reseed. Hold off dividing herbaceous perennials until later in the month. Most important of all, be kind to yourself and allow your heart to sing!
As October sets in, let your eyes feast on the colours of autumn and all her wonder. Plant bulbs in readiness for spring; harvest pears, apples and other delights; collect seeds and cut down perennials as they wither and fade. Suck that stomach in and rake those leaves - consider leaving a pile in a quiet corner for a shy hedgehog to hide away. Breathe in that fresh, cool air and let your lungs burst with seasonal joy!