Year of Grace, Day 204. Emptying the garden, and the pantry too

Today is a typical autumn day, grey and rainy, and the blustery winds keep rocking the bamboos rather roughly. The garden truly looks bereft and forlorn without the hydrangeas. I bid them goodbye yesterday, as off they went to their new home with our dear friends D and A. I’m glad they’re being welcomed by a lovely and loving family though, and I know they’ll be happy there. D, in particular, has always admired them and appreciated them from the first moment she saw them.

Before the hydrangeas left, I took a few photos, not that I lack images of them, as I’ve been avidly photographing them throughout the past three years, but I thought I had better, to mark the occasion.

Bless them – these three shrubs, though actually one qualifies as a tree, it is almost three meters tall.  M and A laboured to take them and the huge tubs they were planted in to the van. When I’d brought the plants here, they were no taller than 30 cm tall. And in the span of just three years, they have lent their grace and character and presence to the back garden. Now that they are gone, the scope of their contribution is very much felt.

Hydrangea paniculata grandiflora becomes pink-tinged in the autumn.

Hydrangea paniculata grandiflora becomes pink-tinged in the autumn.

A freshly blooming blue hydrangea next to one wearing its autumnal garb.

A freshly blooming blue hydrangea next to one wearing its autumnal garb.

Just three plants – how they have made such an enormous difference to this space.

The side and lower branches had to be trimmed so as not to damage them during transport and to better fit into the van. I now have a few vases full of hydrangeas gracing the kitchen and dining room to console me until we leave.

And yes, my heart was torn as the van left, but I busied myself quickly to stifle threatening tears. I am also emptying the pantry, as it happens.

What did I have to play with? A punnet of fresh fat champignons, leftover chunks of Stilton and Pecorino, tuna, garlic, a third of a tiny jar of sambal oelek washed out with red wine, and tomato paste. Into the oven everything went to slowly bake topped with bits of butter and some rosemary and chives that I’d stepped out quickly into the garden to snip, as a last minute decision. By the time M came back, we were so hungry I didn’t have time to photograph the final result. It was meant to have been a late lunch that turned out to be an early supper. For a consolation meal, it was satisfyingly good, especially with a glass of robust red Cretan Daskalaki, organically produced — we are also finishing up the wine.

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