But it was not on Raglan Road with Patrick Kavanagh but at home on our own patch taking advantage of a clear spell after what has been a stormy, wet and windy week. On such occasions, when fortunate as we were this week, there is the relief when there is no serious damage done to plants; no trees down or damaged; no plants lost. After that initial assessment and relief, everything else is a bonus and, as we are coming to the end of this gardening season, it is well to seek out and enjoy whatever is looking good at this moment.
Windfalls were a priority and a good amount of the apples made a delicious apple cobbler for dessert; the quince was stored so that they might ripen a little more before being made into Dulce de Membrillo – a recipe sent by a friend in Chile recently. The quince (Cydonia oblonga) doesn’t crop reliably here but this hot summer brought a bumper harvest.
Chestnuts were another windfall, a reminder of childhood days, games of conkers, putting the most promising chestnuts by the fire, up the chimney, in the cool oven of the range to dry and harden and produce a chestnut hard as stone sure to break those of all our friends. And also, the memories of some of those same friends, with poor judgement or a certain cuteness, rapping my knuckles and putting the rest of my conker ambitions at a disadvantage. Games and gamesmanship!
Colchicums are the flower of the moment, one of those “naked ladies” plants, having flowers without foliage – this will follow in spring. I saw the first nerine in flower also and these will follow on from the colchicums, both good for displays at this time of year. Sternbergia lutea is a plant which flowers in a similar manner, blooms without foliage. It is one I grow in a pot in the glasshouse as summer conditions in our garden are too damp and not hot enough, though this year might have been an exception. After several months left bone dry and in the hottest and sunniest spot in the glasshouse I watered it about a fortnight ago and had flowers eight days later – nature is really quite extraordinary.
Of course, there are other things – Cyclamen hederifolium are a delight at the moment; crabapples are giving their autumn fruit display, asters are looking great; yuccas are spectacular after the hot summer – oh, there is always something to enjoy in a garden!