Diary of an Orkney Gardener – September 2018

 In Blog, Caroline Kritchlow, Orkney

These days many folks have their beliefs emblazoned on their tee shirts.

My husband Kevin proclaims on his sturdy chest that ‘Old men are cool’ and his latest favourite, a joy in blue, states that ‘Education is important but DARTS is importanter!’ I lean towards the ‘Head Gardener’ range but my own adage would definitely be “A garden can make all things possible”.

David Austen rose ‘Roald Dahl’

My plan was that September would be a slightly less busy month, with fewer visitors in the holiday cottages and with the dwindling light and temperatures, the demands of the garden would lessen and there would be time to breath once more. It was not to be. My plans were thwarted with a number of pleasant surprises and if I had that tee shirt it certainly would have been worn with pride!

Our charity, Friends of the Neuro Ward ARI, was awarded Celebrate Aberdeen’s ‘Small Charity’ of the Year …a real surprise and an achievement which all of us fundraisers were inordinately proud. To think it all started with a garden open day!

Much of my time at the moment is spent cajoling local gardeners to open their garden gates for next years Garden Festival, but even my powers of persuasion have been stretched to breaking point. Getting across the message that your ‘garden really can make all things possible’ is not easy, even when the fruits of the money raised is emblazoned across the pages of the local press. I have to confess to feeling frustrated and actually being a bit of a failure because of my inability to spread the vision….but I will no doubt plod on.


My latest cunning plan to enthuse folk is to hold a coffee and plant morning in two weeks time. I have been propagating plants like mad in the shelter of ‘The Potter’, hoping to get my visitors to expand their plant range and gain a bit of confidence in their own plots. It should be a lovely morning of horticultural chat and a chance to share knowledge and plant wisdom and, who knows, someone might offer to join my stalwart gang of fundraising gardeners.

However, my gardening friends won’t have much of a garden to see as they sip their coffee. The Quoy is now securely garlanded in wind fencing, with the hope that the plants might survive just a tiny bit longer. Little highlights:  Crocus puchellus ‘Zephyr’, a lovely white autumn crocus (which I can’t for the life of me remember planting), Schizostylis, the river lily and a lovely bronze leafed Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ are still brightening my borders and the later flowering Crocosmia ‘Honey Angel’ and ‘Suzanne are still putting on a stunning show.

The Cosmos and the Verbena bonariensis never did flower. Our growing season this year was just too short, but I will have another try next year.

Perhaps I should change that adage to ”all things are possible in my garden!”…no, I don’t think so!

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