Autumn shuffles forward beneath the distraction of muddled days and leaves can only wait as their gloss slides away. There is a fading and evidence everywhere of the nursed wounds of molestation. Almost everything has been visited by disease or pest. The plums and apples, with not much weight, show the scars from exiting grubs and caterpillars have grazed freely, many leaves rendered skeletal. It is amazing to watch the sawfly turn up for a feed, their lava really do get motoring and strip plants completely. The season is turning. It has been a strange Summer and on odd days the sun has been most aggressive in reminding of its capability, with young growth frying. I have seen many examples of growth crisped by magnification too, where leaves have been sprayed to’ cool them’ and still the flowers have fallen. It will be interesting to assess the final harvest. Perhaps September will allow a catch up. There has been a smell of rain,but in reality the ground has stayed very dry.
With the turn of the season come the bulbs and winter pansies, Sweet William, bellis and Stocks for over wintering. The chance to tidy and repair. Early interest in autumn plants is strong, the floral displays have often been disappointing and there is a mood for new life. My one real success this summer was with new Petunias, which have delivered zany small flowers in huge profusion. As for my Geraniums, they’ve taken forever to do much. So, I am already setting out new Pansies and Violas and here there are new colours to be found. In the vegetable plot I have tidied space for some Japanese onion sets and have found a few Spring Cabbage to push in. The season is getting on and whilst there are still other greens around, you should only plant to treat them all as edible green. It is unlikely that a sprout planted now will come up with an actual sprout,but the greens will be good and strong for boiling. You should still be able to find a bit of perpetual Spinach around and that will certainly be worth a go.
And finally, as recorded earlier, I had high expectation of a good rose season and that’s what we have had. Many varieties are pushing out a late flush of colour. The season has offered a real reminder of why Roses were once so popular. Try one in a decent pot and you will see what I mean.