Thursday, 27 November 2014

Half an hour in the garden

One of the joys of working from home at this time of year is that I get to see the garden during daylight. Otherwise, I leave in the gloom of dawn, and return way after dark, and my interactions with the garden are confined to hoping I don't slip on unseen catshit when I go to cut rosemary for the evening potatoes, and being slapped in the face by unseen vines as I got to empty the compost in the dark.

November gardening has a lot to do with time management; looking at the most urgent jobs on the list, calculating how long there is until night or rain falls, like fat wet grey duvet smothering the space you would do work in, and fitting in whatever you can until you have to retreat, cold, wet, muddy and shivering. Half an hour between an online meeting and a library appointment? Time to hoik out the last of the peppers and squashes from the greenhouse, and put in the tender shrubs.

The last remaining Nosferatu chilli at first glance looked OK, but on second showed grey mould on the flower tips, where the first cold nights had bit at the tender growths. I pinched out the damaged tips, picked off slugs and popped it onto my bedroom windowsill. Hopefully it'll do better than the one I brought in two weeks ago (and brought out again and put in the compost last weekend). Still, out with the old, in with the new; I picked up a fancy Amaryllis in a bulb sale, and that's now sat in the space on the windowsill vacated by the Chilli. It looked a bit end-of-season at first, but then the centre started rising, and now it has a breath of green on it, and I have high hopes.

Back in the garden, OMG Nectarine and Crimson Bonfire and the Languishing Olive and the two Abutilons (Poppy and Trad) are tucked into the greenhouse, along with all but two of the Pelargoniums* and Froggy the fancy Chrysanthemum, Tweedia and a couple of soft fuschias. I popped the new South African heather and a couple of Alpine pots in there, too, as though they're probably tough enough to take the cold, the wet is a different matter.

I'll pick up any stragglers at the weekend (that new passion vine, for example) and make a decision about the Agapanthus. Normally it goes in, but this year there's less space in the greenhouse and its outside space is newly sheltered by a water planter.

Out in the garden, the frost is already shattering the delicate and tender, Nasturtiums hanging down like rain-smashed party decorations and Germaniums** flumped across the soil, leaves turning to transparent slime. Winter is coming.

* There's two just outside the back door I can't bring myself to move yet.
** Household name for New Guinea Busy Lizzies.

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