Plants we thought had succumbed to the rigours of winter and a disappointingly cold, wet spring suddenly pushed through the ground and shot up as if making up for lost time, and for months we have enjoyed their blaze of colours. Here, plants usually flower for a short period and are then followed by others — in a well-rehearsed progress — but this year almost everything seems to have bloomed for months. So we’ve delighted in combinations of shape and colour that we don’t usually see.
And as the days have steadily shortened we’ve still been able to sit outside in the sun, causing me agonies of indecision as to whether I should stay by my keyboard and press on with the new book or sit outside and read. I usually settled for a bit of both, so the book has progressed.
In to October and still no frosts (even at the height of summer we can occasionally have frosts here) so flowers remain sprightly, still providing colour, and the lettuce plants are continuing to produce new leaves for our lunch time salads. The rocket sewn in early spring, came up then bolted with the heat so the crop has been meagre.
Then this week the weather changed. Temperatures plummeted and rain and high winds swept in from the north with parts of the Highlands experiencing their first snows of the season — a taste of what’s to come. After only a couple of days some trees are already bare. Leaves which were turning to vibrant autumn colour were whisked away to languish on verges and pathways.
With the end of October rapidly approaching and the end of British Summer Time when our clocks go back an hour, marking the beginning of winter, warmer clothes are being looked out. Shops have been ramping up their Christmas goods since the beginning of September and soon we’ll be wrapped up by the fire making lists of buys for presents, and debating again whether we have duck or turkey on the day. The garden will have resorted to its muted greens and the skeletal black of branches against the sky with only the odd clutch of berries or variegated leaves to relieve the monotony.
And summer sun and flowerbeds ablaze with flowers will again be merely a memory.