Travelling Blues


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