Summer’s Almost Over …

… and there is a nip in the air.  The trees, for the most part, are still green and holding onto their leaves.  Swallows and martins show off  and delight overhead; they haven’t started queuing up on power lines yet, anxious to be away.  But you can sniff something in the air.  And it’s not me.

The Priory Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) – the biggie on the left. It will be a mass of yellow in no time at all

There is a crispness and clearness and cleanness that hasn’t been noticeable over the past few months.

The trees (mainly oak) lining the river

And it’s certainly colder too.  I delved into the back of my wardrobe and dragged out my big winter coat.  It’s black with big red patches and is smart and warm and wearing it makes me happy.  Might show you a photo of it one day.  Might not.
At the Old Forge, I gaze up at a dogfight sky, double check it’s not June 1940 and crack on with the mowing to keep off the early morning chill.
At the Priory, on a wet inclement morning, I hold a pint mug of scalding hot Earl Grey (a splash of skimmed milk, no sugar – obviously) and peruse the newly delivered bulb catalogue.  Pretty much all the Priory bulbs come from one supplier.  A bulk supplier called Peter Nyssen – and no, sadly I’m not on commission.  I do recommend them but my only gripe is that the catalogue has a dearth of pretty pictures to set my pulse racing.  I have to cross reference with the RHS encyclopedia and lesser (but better illustrated) catalogues in order to see what pretty, pretty flowers I might be buying.
I was going to be so strong this year.  So very, very strong.  Like iron.  Strong and immovable.  Like a rock.  I would not buy any bulbs.  No.  No way, Sergei.   Wasn’t going to happen.  Then, foolishly in a moment  of absentmindedness, I picked up the catalogue.

Since I started at the Priory I have planted the following (deep breath):

Daffodils – 2660
Tulips – 800
Anemone nemorosa – 200
Fritillaria meleagris – 1000
Alliums – 455
Crocuses – 900
Camassia – 200

Daffodil 'St Patrick's Day'

And a few other bits and pieces too (e.g. erythroniums, cyclamens) and, of course, there are the bulbs/corms etc that were here BM (before me).

Tulip 'Queen of Night'

So, as I had planted so very many bulbs, I had decided not to buy any more this year.  Enough is enough.   But then I picked up the catalogue and had a rush of E’s. Eremurus (the thought of them sends a shiver down my spine), eranthis (I walked 70 miles in the Lake District one February, saw these everywhere and was smitten), eucomis  (just the name makes me keel over).
The flesh is strong but the will is a pile of jelly.  Now, where’s my pen?

13 thoughts on “Summer’s Almost Over …

  1. The priory would look superb with loads of spring flowering bulbs, so well done in giving in! 🙂 It's unseasonably warm at the moment but I can imagine the autumn colours will be stunning at the priory.

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  2. Thanks Janet – I could've done that myself!!

    I shall be moving borders around too, Helen and quite a few bulbs also. Not spearing them with the fork is the challenge.

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  3. I discovered Peter Nyssen this year. Luckily as I am moving borders around it means that there is no point in me planting lots of bulbs as they will only get dug up again. Trying an Eremurus this year but not sure whether they will like my soil. Ordered Dogs Tooth Violets, Tulips, daffs, crocus, alliums – cant wait to see them next spring

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  4. Alberto, sadly there's no wi-fi at the priory and it's easier to fill in the order form and then pass on to the account holder to pay. 'Sides I'm not convinced these conpooter thingys will catch on.

    And yes, I've done the big multi-kilo daff orders – marvellous and great value.

    Where's the Dan Pearson article, Janet? Is it online?

    Faisal, I love this time of year big time. I often find the anticipation of the growing season outweighs the reality. And yes, the bulbs are mainly planted in drifts though I have planted some to read (from a helicopter) 'Dave is best' and 'Dave Rools, OK'

    So true Janet re forgetting how much flipping hard work planting all those bulbs was. My poor back, knees and hands! I will post photographic evidence in due course of my coat. Bet you can't wait…

    'Wise and restrained' – I like that Stacy and shall have a tee shirt printed forthwith. You're very right about the light – this is possibly my favourite time of year, but then that changes month from month!! I shall do D's next year – back to daffs. Lovely.

    Jane, er OK. If you think it truly necessary.

    Good motto, Elaine. There certainly is space for more daffs – might have to grab the catalogue back.

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  5. I shall send you a new coat for Winter…unfortunately it only comes in one colour…WHITE which I know isn't really practical for gardening but is does have snuggly arms, almost as if you're hugging yourself to keep warm. Yes! The arms do have ties to do up at the back but don't be alarmed, this 'straight' jacket (ahem!) is the very latest in garden fashion!!

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  6. We're not exactly going to help you cleave to the path of wisdom or anything, Dave. Sticking with one letter of the alphabet, especially those lovely e's, does seem like a good way to minimize the damage, though–just like it's helpful for an alcoholic only to drink pinot noir…

    I always feel like you could be standing under a refinery smokestack at this time of year and think it was beautiful, just because the sunlight is so clear and golden.

    Back to the enabling front, once spring comes, you will regret having been wise and restrained in the fall…

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  7. I love the river view, but would need photographic evidence to approve the coat. Though quite frankly, a winter coat that makes you smile is invaluable. You have clearly forgotten the labour of planting all those bulbs if you are allowing yourself access to a pen while the bulb catalogue is out! Dangerous, very dangerous… I am persuading myself that even though we are moving next year it might help swing things if I just added a few more anenome blanda around the foot of the magnolia, and a few bulbs to go in pots just in case they are needed…

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  8. Nip or no nip, you have an absolutely amazing property to work with, Dave, and who'd blame you if you bought up big with gazillions of bulbs? These you are planting in drifts? The end of summer is supposed to be sad, but I find it the best time, when you can really start to negotiate a garden's future.

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  9. I've just planted our eremurus. I reread Dan Pearson'e helpful article about them. Now I'm just hoping…
    I was thinking of getting some eucomis for some of the pots. I lost some established ones last year. Great choices, Dave.
    PS The alliums and the Queen of the Night tulips are a beautiful combination. Where's my notebook and the bulb catalogue (from Jaques Armand in my case)?

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  10. Very funny post! Have you noticed that Peter Nyssen's on-line catalogue has very nice pictures? I know paper has its charm but welcome to 2011 anyway. 🙂
    They sell daffodils per kilo… That's really dangerous!

    I placed my order to eurobulb.nl this year and they send me a shipping confirmations this very morning. Looking forward to planting them.

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