I drove to the garden centre yesterday singing Autumn Leaves at the top of my voice. Loudly, though not necessarily tunefully.
couldn’t help it - that song had been going round and round in my head, ever since our morning Singing for Pleasure session. Our conductor, the Redoubtable Muriel, told us off for singing it in a dreary fashion. We should inject passion into our singing,
she exhorted us, especially emphasising the words of the line: “And I MISS you MOST of all, my DARLING...” The capital letters are, of course, Muriel’s. Muriel has never married but I always secretly wonder if she once had a Secret Love of
her Own, what with her understanding of passion, lost love and all that.
We only sing Autumn Leaves in the Autumn. You know it makes sense. So it was that on arriving
at the garden centre, I was in a definite Swishing Through the Autumn Leaves mood. I didn’t want to scare other shoppers so I stopped singing and started humming under my breath as I walked towards the entrance, looking at all the summer houses for sale
lining the route and wondering whether or not I would have room in my garden for my very own bolt-hole. I have this discussion with myself every time I visit the garden centre and I never resolve it. You would think it would be easy, only having myself to
argue with, now wouldn’t you?
What-ho! Inside the garden centre it was Autumn no longer - Christmas was in full swing! It wasn’t easy, at first
glance, to see anything that wasn’t Tinsel Related. Christmas trees - tick! Strings of lighting - tick! Stuffed Santas with grinning faces and fat stomachs - tick, tick, tick! Even the displays in the Home section boasted trays, place mats, coasters,
candles all on a Christmas theme. It seemed that October and November had somehow passed by without anybody noticing.
I know what you are thinking - hadn’t
I told you in no uncertain terms that this year I was going to have Christmas well and truly sorted before November 20th; that for the purposes of urgency, October was going to be November and November, December. I should have been happy with the foresight
shown by the powers that be in the garden centre for making life that much easier for me.
The trouble is, as everybody knows, to everything there is a season.
This is Autumn, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, season of visiting the garden centre intent on buying different varieties of spring bulbs from usual but coming home with sacks of daffodils and trays of winter pansies as in every year past, ever since
I started trying to grow green fingers. If I am going to think of any other season, just at the moment, then it will be Spring as I look forward to all my bulbs springing (if you’ll excuse the pun) into new life and filling our winter-worn hearts with
so much pleasure.
First, of course, I will have to plant them all - and part of my mission to the garden centre yesterday was to find and buy a bulb planter.
I have never owned a bulb planter but there is always time, isn’t there, for a new experience, even when you reach a Great Age? Besides I watched Monty Don on TV planting bulbs using a bulb planter and it looked so much easier the way he did it. I decided
then and there that I simply had to have one.
It would have been easier had I been searching for a Christmas train set driven by the Big Man in the Red Coat
or a silver reindeer with plug-in lights on its antlers - but eventually I managed my escape from Santa’s Grotto and found myself in the garden implements section. There among the forks, spades, rakes and hosepipe attachments was a truly splendid bulb
planter, of the type wielded so effectively by The Monty, using his booted foot to push the weapon into the ground. Unfortunately this amazing piece of equipment cost close to forty pounds so I reluctantly replaced it on its hook on the wall and selected a
rather more modest planter which only set me back a tenner. Whether it will make the whole Bulb Planting Experience easier or not, time will tell.
see in due course. And Christmas will come when it is good and ready. Like the daffodils in the springtime.
Not forgetting, of course, those Autumn Leaves...