IT HAS BEEN LIKE GARDENING in another country these last two months. We had a typical year’s total rainfall by mid July. The garden is not complaining; on the contrary, new plants have established themselves in record time and old ones put on at least two years-worth
of growth. I have trouble finding where some of our paths have gone.
Oaks put on what are known as lammas shoots every tear, conspicuously reddish in many cases. Lammas means ‘Loaf mass’, the harvest festival once held on 1 August. Without waiting for August,
though, almost every plant has new shoots without precedent, the most intriguing being a Canadian red maple,Acer rubrum, which would much prefer an acid soil, apparently in flower, with long shoots starting chlorotically pale, then tipped with red leaves like red hot pokers against the sky.
Pity the poor city gardener, who has to cut off most of this lushness and bag it through the house to an authorised tip.