Having planned to pick the damsons today (variety ‘Shropshire Prune’) it did not take many moments up the ladder to realise that they weren’t quite ready after all – there was no ‘give’ when I gently pressed them between my fingers so they can hang around for a bit longer. I imagine there will be around 4 or 5lbs when the time is right for picking, a relatively good crop for a tree that is not in the best location. It has the advantage of being grown on a fairly dwarf rootstock, so it needn’t involve a tall ladder or any stretching, just in case any of you are worried about further potential accidents – the Golfer is quite humbled by all the good wishes you have passing on in your comments. Thank you.
This lack of readiness for picking threatened to put me at a bit of a loose end – having made up my third batch of tomato chutney in the morning I had envisaged spending time harvesting damsons and then doing something appropriate with them, including some jam making. It is strange how quite suddenly there are not as many jobs to do in the garden, but after having had so many months of getting something done in it every day it is going to take some time to get used to perhaps not spending time in it at all, other than my rambles and – who knows?! – maybe even sitting down in it! I wandered round a little aimlessly after my harvesting was stymied, snipping off the odd deadhead and plucking out a wayward weed or two, but then focussed instead on studying it as objectively as I could.
Unblinkered, I could see that by next year many plants which were new or moved last year would be clumping up nicely and that as they did so the overall effect on the borders would be subtly different. The phlox and penstemon would be making more of a statement, as would the sedum which this year have been quite spindly after being shunted around. The clematis on the colonnade would have settled in better and instead of just leaves would be producing flowers just as this newish ‘Buckland Beauty’ has done, now gracing the garden with a small second flush. I can see better now how annuals can be manipulated to fill the gaps in the borders between the perennials and provide colour to knit the garden together throughout the seasons, like the tagetes and heliomeris I showed recently on GBBD. The importance of foliage cannot be underestimated either, and my regular ramblings have opened my eyes to this too – after all, there is more green in the garden than all the other colours put together, so ferns and hosta and pulmonaria and countless others provide a welcome backdrop for many months of the year.