I love summer, of course I do. How could you not love the beans sprouting after three or four days, salad leaves doubling in size in a week, cascades of calendula and tagetes bringing colours, bees and other insects to the plot.
But autumn has a melancholic majesty summer cannot quite manage, where the gardening is less easy, the growing is more perilous, the fight for life against the onslaught of pigeons, slugs and snails somehow more precious. It seems right that gardening should sometimes be more serious, that its gift shouldn’t be taken for granted, that the things you don’t do are as important as what you do.
Sunday saw the last of the beans, the putting away of the wigwam, the only structure we have. I love having height on the plot, even if it’s only fennel flower going to sweetly to seed. But the subdued autumn aesthetic of plants hugging closer to the ground also appeals.
I clear the spaces, hoe and rake around, wondering whether the bare patch will be home to onions, shallots, broad beans (seems we’ve succumbed again this year) or a new home for the baby kale which needs protecting from pigeons. Never taken to netting, preferring instead to plant a thicket of sticks, like Viking defences against invasion.
I gather salads and chard and chat away to Mary (we seem to see much more of each other at this time of year) while we use her patent cropper to pick apples off the shared tree. So happy to be there, and here, and with you. Now, any gardening or other stories you’d like to share?
09 10 2012