Tick over Posted on October 26, 2011

The frost (it was only a touch) that browned the face of the Bishop of Llandaff last night was the first here for seven months. Mid-March was our last even moderately cold weather. The cold spell that gave last winter its fearsome name started in late November and reached its climax over the weekend before Christmas, when I recorded two days of bitter cold and clear blue skies, and the greenhouse door froze shut. The lowest temperature on our thermometer, sheltered on a north wall, was -9°C. Since then the coldest night has been January 31st, with a low of -1°C.

Now we are cruising in an autumn so benign that the dahlia is the only plant complaining. My complaint is drought. Ten months have given us only 400 millimetres of rain. We need 200 more in two months to hit our long term average. The wonderful thing about averages is that they always turn out about right.

In spring I complain that everything is happening at once; I panic at the hectic pace of growth and the daily changes in shapes and colours. I fall behind in even seeing, let alone being constructive Now the garden has slowed almost to a standstill is the time to plan ahead, to decide on winter work, to make serious decisions.
But no; lassitude takes over. I am not seeing clearly or analytically; not seeing the garden as a picture, just passively absorbing the atmosphere of the settled, somnolent world.

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