For the record, the warmest-known September figures are those for September 2006; and, while the mean temperature of 14.7°C in September 2021 is a UK figure, Scotland didn’t do too badly with a mean temperature of 13°C.
Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre, is quoted describing September 2021 as “an exceptionally warm month for the UK” in which there were “persistent above-average temperatures” until the conditions changed right at the end of the month.
We have all noticed a definite change to colder and wetter weather, temperatures dipping into damp single figures in the early hours of the morning for the first time for a long while.
The summer-loving plants in my garden are telling me they are not happy with this development. And if plants can communicate with each other, as has been claimed, then those closest to my front door will have passed on to their neighbours the news that a courier delivered a box of bulbs on Saturday – a sure sign summer bedding plants have been served notice to quit their pots, planters and containers and will soon be on their way to the council’s extravagantly-named ‘recycling centre’, known in the plant world as ‘the coup.’
Accordingly, I suspect it may not be the best idea I have ever had to venture out after dark into a garden filled with plants which are aggrieved to think that I propose to discard as rubbish the self-same plants which made my garden a very pleasant place to be when they were young and vigorous.
Now I am grown old and have beyond dispute put my best years behind me, I would be a very unhappy bunny were the plants in my garden to conspire to replace me with a young, enthusiastic gardener and consign me to a humiliating final journey in the back of a ‘bucket motor.’ What a reward for loyal service!
But the once-beautiful and formerly-bounteous flowers of the begonias are scattered, decaying and untidy, across garden pathways and now need clearing up rather than tending; the glorious blossoms carried by the hydrangea bushes are losing their colours and becoming shabby and unattractive; the geraniums are shedding their petals as wedding guests shower the happy couple with confetti and … like confetti … these petals stick like glue to the wet patio.
Ingrate that I am, I no longer admire summer beauty in my garden; nowadays I see tasks to be performed, cleaning, pruning, tidying, weeding … isn’t it amazing how well the weeds have flourished during September? … tasks which are none too pleasant to perform on windy, cool autumn days when the trees’ discarded leaves replace one set of unlovely detritus with another.
So, summer plants, your end is nigh! Well, perhaps I might amend that promise or ‘threat’ as you may prefer. Given that there’s no frost in the weather outlook for the next few weeks, I may extend your stay a little longer: but be assured that your end is almost nigh!