First frost is forecast. The temperature is plunging. The condensation is crawling up the windows and the leaves from the trees are scattered across the patio. All, that is, except for Dwarf Peach Crimson Bonfire, which despite the chilling of the days, is still clinging to the late green leaves which have been the signature of this autumn.
The season has been so warm that leaves have been clinging to their chlorophyll, ending up chequered and harlequinned, autumn colour striped and patched on still-photosynthesising leaves.
The peach and the nectarine and the olive and the fig must be manoevered (sack truck to the rescue) into sheltered spaces for winter coddling. Abutilons x 2 and Fuchsias x ?8 must go into the greenhouse, along with the Tweedia and the Agapanthus (which this year sulked and gave me a single sullen flower).
This is what must happen, preferably before the first frost, but almost certainly after it, in a tearing hurry, sparked by the sudden collapse of the final begonia.