It stopped raining. Well, we had a few days when it didn’t rain all day, that is. And the sun’s even been out. The meadow even got its seasonal haircut (still has to get its seasonal removal of hay, mind, and thank you, misbehaving weather gods).
I braved the squidgyness of the bottom lawn, and it was truly squidgy – rain runs down the paths and disappears into the lawn / beds / paths – because I thought I glimpsed something deep in the darkness under the camellias, perhaps a crisp wrapper that had got blown in. I was wrong:
Finally – after three years. Lots of leaves during that time but very little fruiting action, though they’re making up for it this year with about eight spikes. Arum italicum, of course – and I did buy it for the leaves and not the berry stalks, but they are fabulous. Hee hee – quite cheered me up.
So then I decided to have a proper look around, rather than one concentrating on all the jobs which need doing, and there are lots of other reasons to be cheerful as well. The colours are just beginning; the birches and the ginkgo haven’t quite got going, but my Amelanchier is wonderful.
Partly obscured, admittedly, by the Portugal Laurel of Doom and the hedge’s Mohican haircut – we’ve still got to get the scaffolding in to do the top – but it’s gorgeous. The blueberry, which has provided quite a few impromptu snacks this year as I remembered to net it in time, is astonishing.
But not as astonishing as one of the lilies. Only one, but it’s bizarre. I don’t ever remember it doing this before, and I’ve had it for years. It’s quite impressive in normal light but once the sun gets behind it, it’s fantastic:
Why has it done this – that is, done it this year and not others? I know it’s supposed to be a spectacularly good autumn this year in parts of North Wales, but I was up in Betws y Coed and the Conwy Valley yesterday, one of the places that was mentioned in the media, and it didn’t seem to be any better than usual. Lovely, but nothing particularly exceptional (not that I’m complaining).
One of my pear trees has turned, though the other fruit trees have just dumped most of their leaves on the grass without them changing colour first. Er, except for the very old pear which dumps black leaves on the lawn, but then it does have fire blight like a lot of the elderly fruit trees round me. The hardy geraniums are also beginning to turn, but they usually get very bright and they’re a little subdued.
Still lovely, though (why can’t I buy this colour in yarn, I wonder), even if it is just the odd leaf or two. Swings and gardening roundabouts once again.
Some of the less deliberately cultivated plants are going a bit mad. In some cases this in unexceptional; the wall between me and the wildy bit, for instance, is always infested with Old Man’s Beard. We rip it out and claw it down from the apple trees, try to remove it from the Rosa rugosa hedges as best we can and encourage it to sprawl over the corrugated iron roof of the old outside loo. Right now it’s worth hanging on to, especially over the roof of the ty bach, because it does this:
I can forgive it quite a bit for that!
When I was growing up I knew about Old Man’s Beard, or I’d read about it, anyway. It was mentioned in some of the books I adored (often featuring camping out in the woods and/or hobbits), but I’d no idea what it was actually like as it didn’t grow round us. When I was a student I went down to lunch with the parents of a friend who lived near Dorking, and we went out for a walk in the winter woods. The trees were festooned with something which looked very decorative, and I asked about it. Old Man’s Beard, and it wasn’t anything like I’d imagined. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t the mad luxuriant growth I was looking at. And I never thought I’d be waging war with it in my ****** hedges.
There are still quite a few insects about, even some butterflies on the ivy which is flowering its socks off. The lavender is a lot quieter – time to cut it back now – but the garlic chives are suddenly popular.
I do like garlic chives. I moved the clumps earlier this year so they haven’t had time to bulk up, but they’re doing well. One thing, though: having herbs handy isn’t just a theoretical concept. I moved them from part of the veg patch and into the new bed in the bottom garden, and I haven’t used them once this year as a herb (they’re particularly good in a tomato sandwich). All I have to do is walk round the corner with my scissors, but do I do it? No. A lesson there, as I’ve been thinking of moving more and more herbs into the middle garden. Hm.
Ah well, time to walk round and make a list of all the rest of the autumn and winter jobs, because it’s stopped raining. For a minute.