BANG – it’s autumn. It is like someone has just flipped a switch. I woke at my usual time, although admittedly for the last week or so I have been sleeping a little longer, and was shocked to find it dark and cold.
This isn’t how it is supposed to be. We are supposed to be easing ourselves into the cooler weather, not confronted with it suddenly like changing a channel half way through a show on the telly. I’m not sure I like where this is going. Maybe it is a blip – an anomaly and things will return to the warm hazy days soon. But I don’t have high hopes.
So I decided to throw a “Pull Out Party” for one – Me! It is a bit like a horticultural ‘pity party’ where I shake my fist at the seasons and express my annoyance and frustration at the unjustness of the situation. We had a terrible summer and now it would seem we are having a terrible autumn. I want to stamp my gumbooted feet and shout loudly “It’s not fair!”
So I took out my frustrations on anything in the garden that was remotely brown and crusty. The only real reason there were brown and crusty plants in my garden was I was in complete denial that summer was coming to an end. So instead of pulling out the corn stalks when I removed the ears, I left them there. They were still green and such a huge structure in the landscape of my garden. Autumn tends to rob the garden of any height. They were no longer lush and green, but wispy and brown as they began to shrivel up, as they tend to do at the end of the season. They had finished and all their presence was doing was reminding me in a ‘stick your tongue out and go nah nah nee nah nah’ kind of way that the glory days were behind us.
But they weren’t the only ones to be swept away in this cathartic cleansing of my garden. Beanless beans were removed, leaving behind a barren, seemingly lifeless soil. The trellised cucumbers, gherkins and melons that had long since succumbed to powdery mildew were untangled from the netting. They were so far gone that a gentle scrunch released their tight grip on the netting. I even discovered it was much easier to remove the stubborn tendrils while the netting is still hanging there, not trying to pull it all off after when I have pulled out the plants by the net as I normally do. I have gotten myself all in knots before. The lazy way never is!
The zucchini didn’t escape my attentions. I noticed they had seemed to have grown out of the powdery mildew and were having a new lease on life and there were fresh healthy leaves without the tell-tale white powdery markings. So I whipped off any leaf that looked even remotely infected and threw them away.
Then the sky grew dark and it began to rain, so I stopped. But as soon as I finished clearing up, so had the rain. It wasn’t even decent rain and there wasn’t enough to form a puddle, even if I had channelled it all into one place. This is just another weather taunt as we have only had 13mm of rain in the last 30 days and they say that the autumn is likely to be a dry one. I don’t know whether to be pleased or not. Cold and wet equals miserable, but dry means what plants remain in my garden will be a little stressed.
As I stood back and surveyed the garden, a little of the disappointment had slipped away. The garden looked somehow fresher. I had rejuvenated it by removing the dead, dying and decayed. The greens stood out brighter and I was able to notice the peas are coming along nicely and have long thin pods. The cover crops of mustard and lupin that I sowed to replace the onions and the potatoes have grown remarkably quickly and are providing a healthy vibrancy to the fading landscape. All is not lost – the garden is still mostly green.
Come again soon – I think I shall pickle peppers.
Sarah the Gardener : o )