Karen had also arranged for me to meet Kate at Beangenie guessing rightly that we would have a lot in common so it was day for wandering around their gardens, sitting outside a lot, drinking lots of tea and relishing good company.
Karen's garden is very different from my own both in size and in the style of planting. Her garden is a late summer and autumn garden and sure enough there was still colour from a whole bed of salvias shimmering in the still sunlight. And there was movement too, even on a windless day, from the grasses firing upwards like fireworks or fountaining gently in flowing curves down by the studio. My garden has been ignored for a while and, battered by wind but somehow still growing, it has become a tangled mass of flop and decay.
Kate's I thought might be more like mine because I knew she too has a spring garden and loves bulbs and has a wildflower meadow. But Kate's garden, while nothing like Karen's was nothing like mine either. It is mainly green at this time of year but with strong clear structure from hedges and paths, cool and calm with each of its three distinct areas catching a different feeling even without their colour and flower.
So no tangled mess there then.
And today was full of sunlight when I woke up. Time to stop pretending the garden has gone to sleep when it so clearly has not and give it some time and love.
When you garden in a wild sort of way it is amazingly easy for things to slip from sweet disorder into bedraggled chaos. Some things are showing their structure simply by virtue of losing their leaves.
The old hedges are lovely at all times of the year. I love the new growth in spring but I love it too when the shapes of the branches emerge, twisted and interwoven.
But mostly there is simply a sense that everything is falling over and into everything else, still growing somehow in this impossibly long warm autumn but growing in a messy, desperate way that almost makes me long for cold and a stop and some winter silence. There was so much to do that I had to fall back on the trick of making myself focus just on one place, the side garden today, as too much wandering about and looking at the garden was making me feel like living in a small flat on the Cote d'Azur with a pot of African violets. I cut back and moved things and took six enormous wheelbarrows of plant material to the big compost heap in the field.
And then I planted out some of my huge tulip order.
These are Tulipa Acuminata. This is a Peter Nyssen image as are the ones below and all my tulip order is from them. The range is great and the quality very high. I have planted tulips out in December lots of times and they don't seem to mind at all, in fact it is better to plant them out late than too early, so it is not too late to get an order in. I am not sure about Acuminata as I have never grown them before. It may be that when they flower the etiolated blooms will be just too spidery and odd but I do love the colours and they may have a delicacy which will be rather fine. I also planted more Ballerina.
I might put some Hermitage in tomorrow as well. The Hermitage are quite small, the Acuminata a littletaller and the Ballerina taller still.
I have barely scratched the surface of what is to be done, in fact I might not have found the surface yet.
It was odd working in the garden again and finding things flowering in the confusion of a warm November.
In the wooden greenhouse the scented leaf geraniuns are still flowering away. I need to cut them down and put them somewhere frost free for the winter but I can't bring myself to stop the profusion of flower just yet.
Apples hang on some of the trees like Christmas baubles. We have had such a huge crop this year there is nowhere to store them any more, fifteen bags or so are hanging in the workshop and we have given away almost as many.
The large number of windfalls pleases the hens though.
And amongst the dead and dying beans and tomatoes in the kitchen garden, my pineapple sage is having a last mad fling. I do hope the sun shines tomorrow.
How is it where you are? Has your garden closed down for winter yet or is it as confused as mine?