On a recent sunny day I met a man at a bus stop. With an Antipodean accent, he said, ‘I can’t understand why you always complain about the weather in Scotland’. I said ‘have you been here in November?’ * Well, today it feels like November has come early. It has rained all night and looks set to rain all day too so I’ve been trying to see the good things in the garden. Of course, as well as the rain, we have mellow fruitfulness – tomatoes still tumbling from the bushes and apples almost ready. But good things also come in very small sizes. In between the cracks in the paving stones have appeared the most beautiful violas.
These have self-seeded from some plants that I bought on a grim November day a couple of years ago. They’re lovely little plants and need to be looked at very close up to enjoy their full glory. I’ve tried saving their seeds and replanting them but the slugs tend to eat the seedlings. These ones in the paving have managed without any help from me.
Earlier this year I collected the seeds from some dusty brown seed pods on the violas. I put them in a little plastic box while I decided what to do with them. Later that evening as I sat slogging at the laptop, I heard a bizarre popping sound – the seeds were exploding all round the room.
As well as the ones that have planted themselves in the paving outside, I may find some violas growing in amongst my books and papers next.
*I realise this makes me sound like the woman from the fish shop in Alastair Reid’s wonderful poem ‘Scotland’
Honestly I’m not and I don’t have a radiant raincoat.