JUST a moment while I check the calendar. Oh, what’s this? I’m convinced it was April but my clever little gadget they call a smartphone tells me it’s November.
Well, you could have knocked me over with an oak leaf. It may be nudging the depths of winter around the rest of the UK, but at Andrews Towers it’s got springtime written over it. And growing all around it.
Maybe I’ve idly strolled into a time warp and been propelled forward five months.
As convincing evidence, I have four or five camellia bushes in the garden, each one with burgeoning buds and, seemingly, ready to burst open. One of them, a new pink variety named Jimmy Smart after the renowned founder of Marwood Hill, near Barnstaple, is not only studded with buds but also actually in bloom – four months early.
And it begs the question: If all the buds unfurl, will it flower at the proper time? Jimmy Smart ain’t saying, but my guess is it will deliver again provided I’m generous with the nourishment.
Elsewhere on the patch I’ve got a yellow euryops in a tub that’s unseasonally full of flowers, campanulas behaving as though it were mid-summer, clematis budding up, clumps of multi-coloured alstroemerias, osteosperumums producing a new generation of mauve and yellow daisies, half-hardy pelargoniums – geraniums to you and me — Kaffir lilies still refusing to hibernate, buds developing on several rose bushes and three or four new, pale green shoots of our ginger lily – Hedychium gardnernium – unwrapping outside the front door, six weeks after this bulbous plant delivered its fabulous exotic gold and orange blooms, as it has done in September and October for the past ten years.
Not to mention numerous spring bulbs pushing their foliage through the autumnal soil. I fear they and the rest of the Defiant Ones will suffer a severe shock if the mercury plunges to uncomfortable depths.
Of course, what brought me abruptly down to earth and saw the end of my wish-it-were-springtime dream was the sight of countless fallen leaves on the lawn. So many, in fact, that I had to search for the grass underneath in places.
Mustn’t complain, I suppose – only another 119 days to pass before the arrival of the Spring Equinox . . . on March 20th, 2018, at 4.15pm to be precise.
¶ Springtime in November: From top – Camellia Jimmy Smart, osteosperumums, euryops, campanulas, alstroemerias, and the reality of autumn leaves.