Guest Rant by Jane Scorer
I know what is just around the corner… I can guess what I will be reading about, any time soon…the joys of the autumn and winter garden, that’s what. There will be pages about flaming autumn colour, and we will be encouraged to buy certain plants for their spectacular hues. But why? That plant is dying back for winter, so why would I want to watch it do that? Autumn leaves are depressing and should be ignored. They are signs that the long days of summer are behind us, and I really don’t want reminding of that.
When it is November and the wind is whipping round the house, don’t give me articles about how architectural the dead grasses look. I want to see delphiniums and roses, things that are young and full of promise. Not things that are dead and decaying.
Berries? Don’t get me started! How many times on tv gardening programmes do we hear about the wonderful colour of berries, and how they enhance the autumn garden. For a start, any I might have last a nanosecond on the shrub before they are devoured by flocks of hungry birds, who then splatter my car with multi-colours, Jackson Pollock style. Take it from me, elderberries are the worst.
“Winter colour” is yet another myth promoted by people who have little else to write about once the summer is over. “Plant for winter colour,” they say, “to give pleasure in the coldest weather.” Well, I don’t know about you, but come the winter, I’ll be sitting by the fire with my feet up, flipping through a seed catalogue or two. I will not be down in the garden, in my wellies, scouring the beds for berries or the odd flower.
Also, like most people who work for a living, I leave work in the morning when it is dark, and come home – you’ve guessed it – in the dark. There could be the Hanging Gardens of Babylon out there and I wouldn’t be any the wiser.
No, save the colour for when we can enjoy it, in the spring and summer, when the evenings are long and light.
Now then, in the depths of winter, I need to be cheered and lured by the promise of the new season. So, photos of spring blossom will do nicely in October, and by December, I will be overdosing on the flowers of high summer. In the snows of February, I want to be reading blog posts about mowing the lawn on a hot summer morning, or picking tomatoes in the heat of the greenhouse.
So, just let me dream a little before everything springs into rude, lusty life again in March, and let me forget the harsh reality of the bare winter garden.
Jane Scorer likes to garden like she eats cake … compulsively, greedily and frequently. When she’s not gardening, she’s writing about it , and you can find her blog at HoeHoeGrow.