‘I do sincerely trust
that the benediction
that is always awaiting me
in my garden may by degrees be more deserved and that I may grow in grace and patience and cheerfulness, just like the happy flowers
I so much love.’ Elizabeth von Arnim
The wettest summer since 1912
and as I write, the coldest August night on record. I went to open the
greenhouse first thing and the lawn was sparkling in the early morning sun. It
appeared almost as if there had been a frost overnight – perhaps there had.
Anything seems to be possible in this quirky summer.
Some plants are thriving – see
the gunnera in Durham’s
Botanic Gardens for example. Originally from Brazil, it thrives in damp
conditions and the huge, umbrella-like leaves, followed by large flower spikes,
are a potential wonder to behold, whereas, sadly, the leaves on some of the trees
there are already beginning to turn a lighter green - signalling an early autumn.
But, amazingly, the passion
flower in Pablo’s garden is still in flower, despite being of a delicate
disposition. Curiously also hailing from Brazil, it is so named because
discoverers of this exotic plant likened its parts to representations of the
crucifixion, particularly the central column resembling the pillar of the
cross. The flower was said to remain in bloom for three days to symbolise the
three years of Christ’s ministry, but in reality each flower only lasts for one
Shade under the old apple tree
The left hand side
of the garden still has gaps for yet more and different plants but is showing
pleasing colour. Even my despised geraniums are welcomed now for they add
pleasing daubs to the back of the shady border.
Pablo disgruntled at waiting forever for the sun to shine
A massive autumn garden tidy is called for but as the weather people are predicting an Indian summer, prior to the worst winter since the Thames froze over in the 1600s, I plan to decamp to the summer house and enjoy the autumn sunshine - glass of wine in hand and Pablo on knee of course.