Travelling Blues

Reading time 4 minutes

That’s it. I have readied both gardens for October, packed my bags and left Him Indoors in charge. I am now on the other side of the world. Anything could happen …… and it probably will.

True blue Salvia patens
True blue: Salvia patens

Bidding farewell to our seaside garden was particularly tough this year. There were gingers coming into bloom, dahlias still setting the world alight, cuttings begging to be taken and mountains of bulbs left to plant. I didn’t quite finish renovating the greenhouse which meant many plants would have to hold on until November to take cover. Thank heavens we enjoy a mild and merciful microclimate in both Broadstairs and London.

Incandescent: Dahlia 'Firepot'
Incandescent: Dahlia ‘Firepot’

I shall miss three weeks of precious gardening time and return home just in time to sling the last tulip bulbs into pots and tidy up before winter begins. In my suitcase there are seed catalogues, destined never to be read, along with several back copies of The Garden. I lay them out in my hotel room in the vain hope that one evening I may have the time and inclination to read them.

Pink confetti: Begonia grandis subsp. evansiana 'Rosea'
Pink confetti: Begonia grandis subsp. evansiana ‘Rosea’

It may sound odd, but what I find hardest about travelling is the disconnection with my garden. I can cope with leaving friends and family behind: they will not have moved on in the space of three weeks. In contrast the garden will have altered irreversibly as the nights draw in and temperatures drop. I never know quite what to expect on my return, but always wish I had prepared better for my absence.

Imperata 'Red Baron' makes an impression
Imperata ‘Red Baron’ makes an impression

In the meantime I shall bask in Hong Kong’s balmy autumn sunshine. The temperatures are in the mid twenties here; a lovely soft, caressing heat that I could happily endure for a while longer. I shall try to bring a little of that subtropical warmth back with me to banish my travelling blues.

A tapestry of purples and minty greens
A tapestry of plums, purples and minty greens

Categories: Bulbs, Musings, Our Coastal Garden, Photography, Plants, Travel

Posted by The Frustrated Gardener

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33 comments On "Travelling Blues"

  1. An exciting life you do lead.:-) We are going to drop into the low 40’s this weekend during the day. I think I can spell heavy FROST. I’ve been working like crazy and then I just had to go to the local garden center this morning. Yes, I’m headed back outside to plant. Enjoy your trip and here’s hoping your gardens respond well to your absence.

    1. Frost, yikes! Winter comes around so fast! I try to make my life sound exciting, but really it’s not. I am here on business and all I see is one showroom after another with taxi rides in between. Next week I will be in China where blogs like mine are blocked, so I will have to find other amusements! Take it easy 🙂

  2. Your gardens look lovely and colourful It’s hard to leave a garden for even a few days but I have to leave mine for 2 months next February. Luckily, not the most lively growing time!

  3. I’m a flower girl at heart but particularly liked the foliage pictures – such lovely contrasts. Your garden will move on, that’s true, but there are other natural things to enjoy over there. Marvelling at the sea eagles for example. I had a rare day off there a decade or so ago and saw some colourful birds at the zoo (don’t usually like zoos, but this one has stayed with me) then caught some kind of train up a mountain. The view of the bay was lovely.

    1. Perhaps that was up The Peak? I may do that on Sunday. I was being told about magpie pheasants yesterday – they live in the wilder parks of Hong Kong and sound spectacular. Pleased you like the foliage shoots. I have really enjoyed playing with different combinations this summer.

      1. Yes, I’d forgotten the name. It gave me a longing to visit the islands you can see from up there – I never got a chance to do that. I was told the colourful birds used to be given as tokens of love. Have a wonderful time!

      2. Lamma Island is on my list for the day I get to Hong Kong for a holiday rather than work. They still have a bird market in Hong Kong I believe, although I am not sure Him Indoors would deem a canary a suitable gift when I from my travels 🙂

  4. Have never managed to get round to saying how much I enjoy these little missives and scrummy pics that drop into my inbox……..enjoy HongKong… another life I worked in the theatre, but the thing that finally made me give it up was I couldn’t bear going on tour and leaving my garden, so I completely know what you mean

    1. Well I am delighted you did find a moment to leave a comment and say hello. I used to have to travel more frequently and at more disruptive times so I am counting my blessings. Touring must have been tough, taking you away for long stretches? Not the sort of life many people can lead forever. Hope you continue to enjoy future posts. Dan

  5. Dearest FG…Beautiful pics – the foliage shots are divine.

    I so empathize… even a week away is too long (especially in spring and autumn) and I dread arriving back home to see blooms I was so looking forward to on their last legs, weeds popping up where I didn’t want them and wilting veggies, despite the very kind and valiant efforts of my man. As for the Garden and bulb cats, yep I do that every trip, and never do I get to turn a page. I am not even going to bother to pack them next week, because I know even with the best intent, they won’t get opened on the plane or at the hotel, and it will be just more ‘stuff’ to carry around. Enjoy HK, (and the showrooms!) The weather this time of year is great – just right and hopefully not too humid.

    1. Hi Helen. Yes, it’s just right, although more just right for being out and about sight-seeing rather than working :-). It will be my last taste of summer before going back to the cold, wet and dark. See you very soon. Dan

  6. I so empathise – much as I love to travel, I always have a little anxiety about the gardens, even with a watering system in the Dublin courtyard garden which always tends to bake. However, it does make the homecoming even better!
    Lovely pics as always!

  7. Lovely photos as always and that blue salvia is quite unreal! Hope you are enjoying your business trip and bet you don’t have time to read the back copies of the garden until your flight home! Why not tell him indoors to put on a warm coat and FaceTime you from the garden so as you can see what you are missing and tell him what needs doing in your absence?

    1. I Anne. I am having a day off and hope to see some nature today. Him Indoors is jetting off to Florence so no chance of setting him to work. He did send some pictures this week of him planting cabbages by torchlight. Unconventional, but better than not planting them I suppose!

      1. Lunar planting I have heard of….perhaps he’s been reading Helen Yems book “Gardening in me nightie” Or perhaps he’s planning on the male version…”Pyjama Planting”!

      2. What a vision that conjures! The last time I did any gardening in the dark I got funny looks from our neighbours. I think they thought I was burying Him Indoors under the lawn. The thought has occasionally crossed my mind 😉

  8. I totally get it. On this end, I’m not leaving town much – yet I’m hardly ever here – which is where I want to be. I get really angry at myself for constantly committing to things that mostly don’t really benefit me in a direct way, but ascertains that I will be spending what little time off I have helping others do this or that, volunteering for that or the other, etc. I need to learn to say no. Gardening as well as housework is piling up, I have a number of projects I want to work on, but is too fractured to get much of anything done – and I don’t even have a valid excuse like traveling! Gardening by torchlight is not a bad idea at all…

    1. Saying no, when it’s appropriate, is a skill that I have tried to master as I’ve matured. It’s hard for those of us who are naturally ‘yes’ people. I listened to a leading executive coach speak a few years ago and they talked about the idea of proper selfishness – the need to be positively selfish in order to be the best you can be. I found this short introduction which you might find interesting: Dan

      1. Thank you Dan – I will definitely read it. “Proper selfishness” – I like the sound of that. It is definitely time for me to evolve to a properly selfish person. Thanks again! 🙂

  9. Wonderful colours and plant combos! Love that delicate begonia and what a wowza dahlia. Over here, I’m already starting to clear away my dahlias for another year so it’s a lovely treat to enjoy some gorgeous pics from your lovely garden! Thank you 🙂

  10. Hi Dan, such lovely photos! Your garden looks wonderful. Don’t worry about your garden too much whilst you’re away. It’s still mild here and although the dreaded frames and glass covers are all ready to be used here at Sissinghurst we haven’t needed to yet. Long may it last! Helen

    1. Him Indoors has been sending me photos of the garden, but here in HK and Taiwan they use little video cameras that link to an app to keep an eye on their precious pets / children / plants whilst away from home. I am thinking this could be a good, although addictive idea?

  11. Love love love the colors! I’ve got to go collect the rest of my flowers and tomatoes. It turned cold and grey suddenly in Chicago.

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