Saturday was a washout: as forecast, rain fell remorselessly all day.
We caught up with outstanding tasks indoors: building and organising new shelves in the study; sorting through our packets of vegetable seeds, cataloguing what we have and composing what turned out to be a very short order to fill the gaps.
A temporary ceasefire on Sunday morning lured me out into the garden with my remaining spring bulbs: I managed to plant a handful into the damp earth before the first fat drops of rain began to fall and drove me back indoors. By lunchtime, though, the showers had ceased again and the skies cleared. Though the ground was saturated, it was all the encouragement I needed to resume my planting.
Finally, all the spring bulbs were planted. I emptied the pots of last year’s tulips – many of which were already showing strong shoots. I planted these out into the borders to take their chances in the damp ground, and refilled the pots with new tulip bulbs packed closely together. The dahlias were lifted and brought under cover, though I’m not entirely sure where they will spend the winter yet.
In the kitchen garden, I used a hoe to pull the claggy soil up into ridges, and planted out the languishing seed garlic: fat cloves of hard-necked Sprint, which were already sending out pale shoots in their packaging, and soft-necked Arno.
While the winds have swept almost all of the leaves from our trees now, the peach tree is surprisingly still holding onto quite a few green leaves, even as November draws towards its close. As usual, the fallen leaves do not hang around long on our hilltop, being swept away by the wind to leave the grass clear – raking up leaves is one job we’ve never had to do here! Some leaves are not blown entirely clear of the garden, but cluster around the ankles of the borders; I don’t pull these out, but let them break down naturally where they collect.
In a terracotta pot, fine green leaves of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) that I planted last autumn bask in the intermittent sunshine. They have not flowered, but clumps of these grass-like leaves have pushed up around the garden where I planted the corms, to reassure me that they are, at least, alive. It seems too late to flower now, but perhaps next year…
Elsewhere around the garden there are already promising signs of next year’s shoots, mostly narcissi and ranunculus that I planted last month. With all the spring bulbs and garlic at last planted out, I can relax a little more now, and look forward to enjoying the rewards in the coming months.