AL Kennedy has recently challenged the notion that April is the cruellest month by putting forward August for this accolade. Expectations are set impossibly high, but often those 31 days let us down in so many ways. From the garden’s point of view, we went from the early days of August, where prayers were offered up for a decent shower, just for a brief respite from the tedious business of pointing a hose pipe at a wilting plant, to the end of the month when similar prayers were being chanted for the deluge to stop.
Growth and flowers held in check by the sècheresse were unleashed by the rainfall, and flowering annuals such as Cosmos, Zinnia, tobacco plants and nasturtiums have grown with gay abandon. For example, on the seed packet for the Cosmos plants, an ultimate height of 36 inches can be expected; in reality my arms begin to ache when reaching up to dead-head these ferny giants.
As often happens with nature, all is not as it seems. Today, enjoying the sight and perfume of the towering tobacco plants, my attention was drawn down to their base. Here amid the warm and humid air, the first signs of decay are taking hold, a reminder that before long the unequal quest to hold back the inevitable will be lost.