Saturday, October 22, 2011

Golden October

It seemed odd, when I got up early this morning and found the car registering a temperature of 7C (44F), to look back and think that only three weeks ago, we were basking in 28C (82F) sunshine.
It seemed even odder to find that, by the time I'd done all the chores and finally got out into the garden, it was 16C (61F) and I had to dispense with my padded down jacket.
We're due for another seasonal see-saw over the next few days, with London predicted to hit 20C (68F) tomorrow, before the weather turns colder and wetter by the end of the week. If I had one of those weather houses with a little man and woman, I bet they'd be whizzing round in circles by now.
Still, I shouldn't really complain because it's perfect weather at the moment for doing a bit of tidying up in the garden. My resolution this year is to chuck out all the summer bedding in the front garden and replant the containers for the winter, adding some bulbs for a spring display.
I make this resolution every year, but invariably end up pulling out the frozen, mushy wreckage of pelargoniums in early March in order to replace them with ready-grown daffodils because a, I couldn't bring myself to throw out the pelargoniums earlier and b, never got round to planting the bulbs.
However, this year is different. I have already cleared out the containers in the front garden and replanted with skimmia and spotted laurel, underplanted with 'Thalia' narcissi.
I have even bought pumpkins, and a 'Happy Halloween' banner for the front porch, plus some rather chic spiders with pink and orange glitter on them to decorate the trellis. Goodness, I'm organised!
The back garden has been left to its own devices while all this is going on. I usually clear out those containers once we've had the first frost, at which point I cut down the cannas and put them in the garage for the winter.
I've been out to fill up the bird feeders and mow the grass at regular intervals, however, so I've noticed that the eucalyptus which was pruned at the beginning of September (on the right of the picture) is showing signs of growth.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to take a picture of this, because the branches are higher than me and trying to photograph them results in silhouetting them against the sky. I must get up on a stepladder, though, because it's been a fascinating, rather teenagerish process.
Normally, the eucalyptus has very smooth, creamy bark, particularly at this time of the year when it has shed its old top layer. But where the tree has been pruned, I've noticed what look like tiny pustules appearing along the branch. New shoots!
As the weeks progressed, these pustules have got bigger until now they are on the point of sprouting. It's very exciting - and rather nerve-racking, given the see-sawing temperatures.
I'm going to keep my fingers crossed.


petoskystone said...

the weather has been peculiar here as well, with the weatherman not sure if there's is a chance for a few snowflakes on halloween or if jackets will even be needed!

Lancashire rose said...

I'm glad you are enjoying some fine afternoons before the onset of those short days. It really is a great time to tidy up although I'll bet you were pretty tidy for your open day, which will help with fall clean up. Fall lingers on so here. I'd like to pull things out but when a flower is still on the plant I just can't do it. I would love to visit your garden but no chores, sorry! Anyway you guys have such wonderful pavers in the UK. We have nothing like that here so making them was the only option.

Leslie said...

I remember those cute weather houses! You make me feel like I'd better run out and get going on some garden cleaning...good for you for being so on top of it!

Dobby said...

Great minds think alike! I started to clear my garden last weekend and got more done today. The weather is very unpredictable so must do it while you can.
Your eucalyptus is stunning. Hope the frosts keep off for a while.

VP said...

Hi Victoria - good to see you in blogging action again :)

October's such a frantic month isn't it? I'm sure it's up there with all the spring busyness ;)

Pam/Digging said...

October is such a nice month everywhere, it seems. I'm glad you've had some pleasant weather for puttering around and enjoying the garden. Interesting to hear about the Halloween decorations. Is it a big holiday in England like it is in the U.S.?

Victoria said...

petoskystone: My idea of a perfect Halloween is nice, clear weather from 6pm to 8pm, so all the littlies can come round trick or treating in their Halloween costumes. Then at 9pm, by which time I will have run out of sweets, a nice heavy downpour to send everyone home, so I can sit down and relax.

Lancashire rose: You're absolutely right - the back garden feels much more manageable this time of the year. Come spring, however, it's chaos!
I'll let you guys off the paving. If you do pitch up, you'll just have to settle for a cup of tea/glass of champagne.

Leslie: It doesn't happen often, I can tell you!

Dobby: I was reading on VP and Karen's blogs about your get-together. I was very jealous! One day I must get over to Wales and see your garden for myself.

VP: It's been so long I'd almost forgotten how to type!!!

Pam/Digging: Well, actually, Halloween is much more of a big deal here than it used to be. Some Brits say it's an American import and rather disapprove. But that's nonsense. It's true that in some parts of England, it's only recently become popular, but in Scotland it's always been celebrated with traditional games such as dooking, or bobbing, for apples etc.
And in any case, even if it was an American import, what's not to like? Any excuse to dress the house up and have a bit of fun is fine by me - we Brits are far too up ourselves sometimes.
Goodness, that turned into a bit of a rant! Sorry about that.

Esther Montgomery said...

Almost exhausted just reading it!

Hanna at Orchid Care said...

Being the milder of the four, Autumn and Spring are my favorite seasons and out of those two, Autumn is the best. I love the blooming bulbs and I love the falling leaves.

Living in Southern California, however, I’m spoiled and gardening is ever so much simpler because we don’t have to worry about winter frost although the summer can be quite brutal in the valley here.

Enjoy your Halloween.

wellywoman said...

What a beautiful garden. It certainly has been a strange Autumn. We haven't had any frost here in Wales so my hot borders are still doing well. Although we've had torrential rain the last few days so everything is sagging under the weight of the water.

Gardener in the Distance said...

Victoria, I love your back door pot-plant orchestration, whoever it was who may have contributed to its assembling.
Gardening is experimentation, and we are truly blessed to be given a living canvas through which we can work out the capacities of our own identities.