A fanfare of trumpets, a roll of drums, a celebration was called for. What for you may well ask, to which the answer was to mark a rare event this year - a weekend without rain! I set about to make the most of it spending as much time I possibly could outdoors. Sunday was especially productive as I had no other demands on my time. It was a day that really reflected '"the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" - swirls of morning fog slowly giving way to a still and sunny afternoon. The mercury did not rise to any great heights but it was the ideal weather for pottering. I spent some time in the 'Not Waving But Drowning' border dividing a too big for its space 'Solomon's Seal', thinning out a boisterous clump of geranium phaeum and contemplating other moves. Then on to the greenhouse and the area behind it where I made a start on clearing away some of the debris before it can haunt me in the spring. The day was punctuated by one or two discoveries which made me hang my head in shame, namely ;
- A tray of stunted, overcrowded nicotiana mutablis seedlings which had never got pricked out. The fact that they still survived is a testament to the amount of rain we have had this summer. If you have not come across this before it is a most attractive half hardy annual with lightly scented flowers, that subtly change colour. The flowers are initially white, then change to a dusty rose before morphing into a deeper magenta, so that with time the plant bears flowers of all three colours. Now this has survived overwinter here before, although not last winter, so I have prised the seedlings apart and planted a dozen of the sturdiest ones into individual pots. They will overwinter in an unheated greenhouse so may survive my neglect.
- A clump of brunnera which was lying on the ground behind the greenhouse. This had been dug up in early spring but for some reason had never been potted up. Again the abundant wet stuff must have kept it going. It is now has its roots in a pot - whether that will be too much of a shock to the system remains to be seen.
- Perhaps the worst horticultural crime of the year was the pot containing a physocarpus opulifolius 'Lady In Red', which I had tried for size in the 'Not Waving But Drowning' border. You know what it is like when you are not sure whether a plant is the right place or not. Well I took so long in deciding that the poor plant has rooted into the ground. A careful extraction is now required.
Give credit to our local branch of Morrisons - they stock a good variety of British grown squashes most autumns. As the season progresses I'm sure that they will have other varieties in store. I did grow squashes from seed and planted them but whilst mine festered the plants that I gave to my allotment neighbour thrived. He has taken great pleasure in regularly showing me their progress but has told me that at least one squash has my name on it.
What about you - have you got any guilty horticultural secrets that you would like to share with the rest of us?