Monday, 23 November 2015
November Musing ~ Frost Warning
It seemed as if the frost would never come. Late November, and there are still lush mounds of bright green nasturtium leaves, around the feet of the yew cones in the plates-bandes - the trailing sorts, spilling out in their exuberance over the little box hedges, which are themselves sprouting soft new growth after the August clip which should have seen them safely into winter.
Pots of violet-blue streptocarpus which should by now be over-wintering on the bathroom window-sill are still lining the steps up to the back door. There are white geraniums and raspberries still. Roses too of course - Portlands and Chinas, moschatas and noisettes - even a solitary pink bloom on the blue steel foliage of 'Queen Of Denmark'. And all the tender evergreens are still outside : a single precious ball of phillyrea, three pyramids of myrtle, and fifteen big standards of Seville oranges which will take two of us to shift when the time comes. In a normal year they would already be tucked in the house.
And tonight there's a cold rising wind from the north. As darkness falls I can smell the cold. On the six o'clock news there are pictures of snow in Scotland and on the east coast. It's too late to move things now. I go back out again to swathe the orange trees in fleece, drag the myrtles and phillyrea into shelter, move the geraniums and streptocarpus closer to the walls of the house. The wind whips the fleece out of my hands, unravelling. I go back in to fetch string and scissors and a flashlight. By the time I finish, the cold is pinching my nostrils and striking up through the soles of my canvas shoes.
In our house we call the 'homework on the bus' syndrome. It's always the same : however much time I have, I always seem to be behind it".
~ extract from 'The Morville Year' by Katherine Swift.
Illustration of 'Blowing Leaves' by Arthur Rackham.
Was it just me or was anyone else dashing around yesterday to get all those sensitive plants under cover before that first frost descended?