I remember when I was young how the year was properly counted out. There was none of that selling Christmas puddings before before Guy Fawkes’ effigy was burned or stringing market streets with reindeer lights before the first frost.
Back then you knew it was autumn when the wallflowers arrived wrapped in muddy newspaper. And spring was announced with a waft of their warm clovey scent.
This year, I nearly wrote to the council to complain about the Christmas lights going up before the clocks changed. Even the children, never backward in coming forward for Christmas, complained. Instead, I decided to do something cheering.
Crocus.co.uk were doing a deal on wallflower roots: 30 for a tenner which seems pretty fair, given that this was for Erysimum Fire King, a sultry burnt caramel orange wallflower. I can’t be doing with mixed colours like Persian Carpet, which end up looking like a messed up mosaic. Not the effect I want.
Typically, my timing was dire. I ordered in a fit of enthusiasm and by the time the plants arrived, just a few days later, life had thrown up various unexpected and not entirely welcome diversions. So, by the time I got round to planting, the roots had not been heeled into the ground but had been languishing wrapped up in their original paper bundles, tied round with rubber bands, for quite a few days. And when I opened up the parcels the poor wallflowers did look rather bedraggled. Still, I started digging holes.
I decided to spread the plants around the two west facing white borders. Not because I am bored with white. Not at all. Rather, because the borders are young and gappy and, mainly, because there wasn’t anywhere else.
They did not receive star treatment. There wasn’t time. So it was a rush job with no added grit or compost. I just banged them in all the gaps, fifteen plants to each border.
Even more typically the ground was bone dry and the hose doesn’t reach these borders so I had to water each of the thirty plants jugful by jugful. Why not use a watering can? Because I always fill it to the top and then end up straining my shoulders and neck and get a headache. Such are the joys of spending all day at a computer.
Anyway, the job was done at last but instead of being able to luxuriate in ticking it off my to do list. I just felt bad. And I felt worse each time I walked into the house, trying to avert my gaze from the tired drooping wallflowers.
Tiffany Daneff is also the editor of the award-winning intoGardens app - the world's first magazine app for gardens. Visit the appstore to download a free sample or go to the website for more information. Gardening has never looked better or been more exciting. Visit www.into-gardens.com for more info.
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