Thursday, 10 September 2009
A lunchtime walk...
I really am very lucky in where I work. I could be in an office in the middle of the City with nothing around me but miles of glass and steel and tarmac. Instead I can walk out into a huge and beautiful, and superbly tended, garden. I can stroll in the autumn sun, or sit under a eucalyptus, inhaling that delicious, honey-and-medicine scent, and watching the wagtails feeding, and dragonflies darting over the lily pool outside the Jodrell Laboratory.
The Gardens are full of autumn-flowering cyclamen. Everywhere you look, there they are, delicate and bright, isolated clumps appearing unheralded, or broad banks of them spreading under trees. There are colchicums all over, too; big blowsy waterlily-type doubles and slender old-fashioned single ones in clear pink and white. There is still plenty of late summer colour also; the salvia border is a treat, with swathes of red, pink, scarlet, true blue and royal purple, and a gorgeous, although clearly erratic, red-&-white bicolour called “Hotlips”. The Alpine House has tiny north African narcissi, glorious Sternbergias, and lovely bulbs from Australia and the Cape to whose internal calendar this is early spring… Outside the walled garden of Cambridge Cottage, where I work, a Lagerstroemia ten feet tall (see picture - that is not Kew's specimen but it looks very similar) is covered in shocking pink crinkle-flowers, their colour zinging against the red brick wall and the adjacent vermillion of a dwarf pomegranate in full flower. There are insects humming, the air is mild and fresh and the sun is warm, and robins are singing in the trees.
Only robins, though. The other songbirds have all become quiet, just in the last week or so. Autumn is definitely on its way.