It’s amazing what is still blooming and looking good at this time of year – the nasturtiums are still bravely holding on to their blooms. The cold and wet have not deterred the roses either, which have been flowering just about non-stop since the spring. These are not by any means roses of great refinement of form or scent, but they more than make up for this by shrugging off a severe attack of powdery mildew during a hot dry spell in late spring, and they have untiringly displayed their cheery pink clustered rosettes ever since. There are pink and white cosmos too, blown over by rain and wind, but soldiering on, leaning precariously on their sides. The Argentinian verbenas (Verbena bonariensis) are also faring well – looking very elegant with their tall stalks at the ends of which are tiny purple flowers. These have a lovely scent, not immediately sensed, but at the right moment, a slight breeze will carry it and then you are surprised to find out where this mild perfume is coming from. Even the artichokes have managed a second crop – not as plenteous as the first – but buds nevertheless.
I am keeping my fingers crossed that the passionfruit vine will survive through the winter. The vines – at least their ends – keep straying off the permanent wire attached to the house wall and seem to want to come into the warmth of the house. We’ve guided them gently back onto the wire, but they keep insinuating themselves in front of the back door, as if to say – let us in, let us in! This particular variety is known to be cold-hardy, at least in England. And I am hoping that the house wall and the western exposure will provide enough protection for it. The fruit – its only one — that I had been hoping to taste when ripe has disappeared. It hadn’t fallen off, and I suspect one of the birds – either the magpie or the jay – has taken it for a treat. I hope it was thoroughly enjoyed.
As for the cold-lovers in the garden – there are lots of blooms on the cyclamen, and promising buds on the skimmias which will open up in early spring and perfume the air.
My fridge, which has been having tantrums over the past months, has gotten another check-up and it remains to be seen whether this time it will be true to its promised no-frost character. It’s gorgeously sunny and everything is sparkling with raindrops from last night’s rain – a lovely autumn day! So much to be grateful for!