There are peas still to be cleared on the allotment, there is long grass in the orchard that needs a scythe taking to it and the hawthorn hedge has only been half clipped. The sides of the hawthorn are crisp; as crisp as they can be with shears that I took quickly to them last week.
The tops of the hawthorn are bowing down, thick wands that whipped in the high winds we had last weekend at Pig Row. Even in the glasshouse I could hear them snapping against each other, startling me each time I bent over to pick a tomato. The wands need to come off but it is too late in the season now to tackle the hedges. They will have to wait until spring but this is no hardship. There are other things to do and I have learnt as a gardener that sometimes things on my 'to do' list never get ticked off. It is not a question of not being organised, it is simply a matter of gardening. I now have lists that tell me what I can do indoors and outdoors depending on weather but the weather has not been our friend this year. Sadly, the rhubarb did not make it through the windy weekend. The rhubarb got off to a poor start earlier in the year, beaten by spring winds they have come full circle as we enter autumn. I have high hopes that they will come back stronger next year and that the hornbeam hedge will have grown enough to keep the worst of the weather off them. As I clomp past in my wellies, the path wet with a lashing of rain that came and went in under three minutes leaving the ground saturated, I can see that the remaining rhubarb leaves are brown, the stalks snapped. It is enough to dishearten any gardener but a little further on and the lupins are flowering their last along with the sweet peas. They zing out beside the path, remind me of what was earlier in the year and what will be next year. Even in December I will reach for my computer and flick through the photos take six months earlier to see what worked, to have my garden back in the depths of winter. The strawberries are also trying to fruit after they got their late summer cut and though I am tempted to cut off the swelling berries, I can't bring myself to do it. There is a good chance that we may have one of two strawberries before the first frosts. I have cloches ready for them in the event the frosts come early. The success story for us on Pig Row this year has been All Green Bush courgettes, they have given us an abundance of green, fat cylinders that have come in thick and fast. Even at this time of year, my wife still comes in from the garden clutching five or six courgettes a day. Those that are still left are going to be marrows which will store for longer as the weather cools. As with any garden, there have been highs and lows. We have had strawberries, we have had great potatoes; there are still some more to dig up if the weather permits. We have had a glut of wonderful runner beans, great tomatoes all alongside terrible weather that has beaten my dahlias into submission, stripped my rhubarb and buggered up my pumpkins. There's no two ways around the pumpkin situation, they are buggered. It is a word that sums up the summer. Yet, there is always next year.