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.