I could have penned these words on October 18th, the date on which the task of transforming a summer garden into a winter one was accomplished. During the
first two weeks in the month, I had been removing spent summer bedding plants from a plethora of pots, troughs and large, shallow bowls, plants which had given a great deal of pleasure during the warm, sunny months of summer.
My brown bin was the recipient of considerable quantities of tired vegetation on each of a number of days until I became concerned by its weight – and that was without any compressing of the material.
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I admit that I was tempted to pack it all down a bit to make room for yet more, but I refrained.
By the time our gardening guru Alison arrived, the box of already-bought tulip bulbs of a largish variety of species was awaiting her, as were several packages of daffodil bulbs, a container of fish, blood and bone meal all-purpose plant food, three large plastic sacks to hold the detritus of the remaining summer bedding, a selection of the necessary implements and seven trays of young pansy plants, all perky and keen to be planted to let them get on with the business of growing and producing flowers, for every plant was flower-free at this juncture.
It took all of twenty minutes for the rain to come on.
The wheelbarrow and the sack trolley were hastily pressed into service as we set about moving all the containers … summer bedding-free and still-to-be-emptied … into our garage, together with all the materials we planned to use.
We accomplished this task in a downpour: but we were unexpectedly fortunate for, just as we got the last two pots into our improvised work area, the heavens opened. Alison and I were distinctly damp by this time but we would have been absolutely drookit in seconds had we been caught in this cloudburst.
Working with wet soil is not my idea of fun; I doubt if it is Alison’s preferred planting medium: but she has the skills, the training, the experience and the determination to do the job properly.
And do it properly she most assuredly did. Five muddy hours later, coinciding with the end of the rain, we deployed our barrows to ferry … a good word, given the near-
flooded state of our garden paths … the numerous replanted containers to their appointed positions in the garden.
"The job was o’er; the task was done. / All of the summer bedding – gone! / The winter pansy’s reign begun; / Alleluia!”
And already, just two weeks later, the pansies are visibly growing, getting a head start on the bulbs planted underneath them. The appearance of the garden has been transformed by the removal of the dying summer bedding and its replacement with young plants.
Thank you, Alison, and a gratefully joyous "Alleluia!".