As one season ends, another starts

Article Published By Carole Patilla on Oct 9 2017

    Autumn: facing both ends of the growing year

    When you get to this stage of the growing season and the flowers are starting to flag in the face of murk and drizzle (and that was just August this year…), the time for much clearing and resolving draws nigh.

    So far, I’ve outed ammi, now crusty and brown, plucked the crispy brown seedheads off straggly cornflowers to yield future buttons of blue, and consigned any cosmos that have been felled by strong winds unceremoniusly to the  compost.  And so beds are getting cleared. And, in the spaces between admin and orders, seeds are getting sown to germinate bouquets and bounty for 2018.

    It’s still warm (well, kind of) and it’s not yet dark by tea time, so there is just about enough light and heat to get a few late seeds sown for early croppers next year.  In my unheated greenhouse, I’ve got teeny weeny iceland poppies clinging to the edges of a pot (evidence of crap seed distribution when sowing – but their seeds are MINUTE and I’m pretty sure I didn’t have my specs on), a few sturdy scabious seedlings looking good in an oasis of ungermination (ancient seed from fridge which just had to be sown or chucked), and of course the requisite number of barren trays where nothing is diddling.  These will be unceremoniously tipped into the flower borders if they don’t show signs of life in the next couple of weeks.

    Time to plant narcissi for next spring

    Last week also heralded a proper session at the plot.  I love going there at this time of year when, as you labour over lunchtime and realise that you haven’t brought anything to eat or drink, you can just grab apples off the tree, or find juicy pears and grapes to take the edge off thirstiness and hunger. (Yes grapes. And it’s Birmingham…) A warm pear from a tree is a very fine thing.

    My visit means that at least Narcissi bulbs are now in  – planted with a load of leaf mould (still the good stuff, as yet unburied by this year’s new leaf-fall collection) and  they should hopefully be seen gracing bridal bouquets next spring.  Well, that’s if the slugs don’t have other plans – I just have to hope that this year’s gits have since moved on and taken their extended families with them.

    I’ve got plenty of other stuff still waiting to go in – alien looking ranunculus claws, nobbly anemones, pickled onion look-likey muscari bulbs and crocuses which should have gone into teacups at least a couple of weeks ago.  But I’m catching up slowly… resolving to do better, and grabbing all the time I can between the rain, the computer, the weddings and the funerals.

    Next year the plot will be well organised. Next year I’ll keep up with this blog and everything else. Next year I’ll be superwoman. Next year I’ll probably not keep all these resolutions.  But you never know…



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