This is what you might call an emergency garden centre blip. Almost unbelievably, given the lovely spring sunshine of yesterday, we dived back into November today – and a stormy November at that. I thought quite seriously at one point this afternoon of placing a couple of old flagstones over the top of the rootball of the newly planted whitebeam tree, to make sure it stays put through a roaring gale that’s scheduled to last well into tomorrow. In the end I decided to trust my planting; I hope I don’t come to regret that choice.
Because there was nothing better to do, and we needed a few bits and pieces, R and I took a trip up to the garden centre. It turned out to have been quite a good day to do this because almost everyone else had the sense to be tucked up safely at home, so we had the place almost to ourselves. However it wasn’t the most comfortable experience: if you imagine films of tumbleweed blowing through desert townships, and then substitute potted plants and humans for the tumbleweed, you’ll just about get the picture.
If you you’re a horticultural maven you’ll probably already know that primulas are the Big Thing this spring. I’m not, so I didn’t, but I do now: there were hundreds of primulas in the bedding section, in a range of colours that surely go way beyond anything nature ever contemplated. I quite like primulas, but my experience has tended to be that however jazzy they are when I buy them, by year three of their existence they’ll have reverted to either lemon or pink, so I set my face firmly against this temptation. I did, however, buy a large ceanothus (a triumph of hope over bitter experience, that one), along with a rather luscious-looking allium and a vivid pink anemone. This haul, when added to the things we’d actually gone for, brought us up to a full trolley and a bill just a little shy of £100. I suggested to R that he took the swag to the car and left me to pay: it’s embarrassing when he does a trembling park bench lip in public.