greentapestry : November Thoughts

Saturday, 4 November 2017

November Thoughts

"From the window of my writing room I look out over the garden. I shouldn't; my mind should be on the writing. But it's hard not to - especially this year, especially now, when the annual pageant of autumn colour has been playing out with even greater theatrically than usual. Sitting at my window , mug of tea cooling in my hand, I'm an audience of one, a packed house, all attention ......

While I sit glued to the window, the book languishes unwritten, the bulbs unplanted, the apples unpicked, the garden untidied. But there are two messages that should be engraved on every gardener's heart at this time of year: don't panic ... and don't feel guilty. Allow yourself time to enjoy the garden, time to look. After all the trees won't mind if the fruit isn't picked, and the birds will bless you for it - and for the straggle of dead and dying herbaceous stalks which will provide them with seeds and shelter all winter long.

And there is still time to plant those bulbs. I have often been reduced to planting tulips at Christmas or even on New Day's Day, and they seem to come to no harm. There is even an argument for delaying planting now that our autumns and early winters are so mild and wet".

~ an extract from 'The Morville Year' by Katherine Swift.
~ illustration by Rachel Grant.


  1. Spooky! Up you pop Anna, whilst we're having a discussion on Twitter re how late we plant our tulips :)

  2. There's the conflict - trying to write but wanting to be outside. I've shoved tulips into pots in December so that they're not wasted and they've been fine. I think it's still too warm to plant tulips, although borderline too late for alliums. Who knows? The sun's shining today so I'm off outside! :) xx

  3. Definitely not too late for planting tulips here; actually mid December is the recommended time. Mine have been chilling since the beginning of September so I may plant some in pots and dream of tulips for Christmas - Ah!!

  4. This is such a lovely post Anna! Just the words I needed to hear on this wet grey November day! I won't feel guilty about those Narcissi bulbs in their box, and the garden can wait a bit longer for me to finish tidying up. Have a lovely November!

  5. I was so pleased to have successfully recognised the writer from the opening sentence! �� I have so enjoyed her books but haven't checked recently to see if her third one is finished yet, and must do so. I had forgotten her suggestion about tulips in December - I have only tulips left to plant and can quite happily leave them to December!

  6. Lovely quote and picture. My bulbs still sit reproachfully in bags. Nice to know I'm not the only one. With me it's a bit like buying some furniture polish or window cleaning stuff and then feeling'Job done'.As if the act of buying them and bringing them home will do the trick.

  7. A wonderful extract. I haven't planted any bulbs yet this year, time seems to have run away with me, I'm glad it still isn't too late.

  8. I have enjoyed reading her books and we visited the garden many years ago. You have chosen just the right words for November Anna.


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- Anna.