Friday, 12 September 2014

First of the autumn bulbs

It's been dry for three weeks now. Normally this would favour the vine, but a cold/wet snap before the three weeks of dry has stressed the plants in two directions and I now have the holy trinity of moulds (downy, powdery and grey) feasting on the plant. The best solution would be for me to head outside and chop off every infected shoot (right now, that's all of them) and then go through every grape bunch by hand to remove every discoloured, small and imperfect fruit. But it's really too late. I should have been watering, mulching and pampering from a month ago, whisking away all the extra growth and trimming the bunches carefully to the capabilities of the plant. But I look at my limited time and enthusiasm and the task in hand and wonder. Is it really the best use of my time, ferreting through the mass of purple-brown fruit, full of hard rot - botyris, but a decidely non-noble variety - for the few fruits that might come to ripeness? Superficially, it looks like a useful task, but no wine will come of this. Is that much work worth a handful or two of sour grapes?

Which is why I found myself hesitating by the tills at Marks & Spencers and then buying myself some crocus bulbs alongside two loaves of cut-price bread. Crocus Blue Pearl, the first of next year's flowers.

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