HANNAH FINCH: Splash of vibrant colour from my late-flowering kaffir lilies
THERE has been a flare of bright, new colour thanks to the late kaffir lilies. I think they will be the very last thing to flower in the garden this year.
They have shot through the soft greens and browns with the type of vibrancy which has elsewhere been slowly draining away.
That's because the ebbing of colour and light has created a slow burn through the borders.
There are rusty shows of coppery reds and browns, in the sunflowers, phlomis spires and ripening apples which glow like glossy globes on the branches.
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I need to fill my boots before all is lost.
On my harvesting list is the flowering oregano, elderberries and annual flower seeds which are threatening to escape from their brittle cases.
The oregano acts as a brilliant wall cover during summer months and when fresh, a good addition on the kitchen.
But I find that the dried herb is better in terms of flavour intensity and I am keen to have a go at drying for the first time.
So I have been collecting paper bags to wrap around bunches of foliage ready for drying.
And I have been saving old envelopes into which I will decant the seeds from my annuals like the nicotiana sylvestris and lychnis coronaria which need molly-coddling to germinate.
Other annuals need no such care.
There are so many calendula seeds flinging themselves about at the moment that I see no need to collect any.
They will germinate where they fall and when large enough next spring, will transplant happily into more desirable spaces.
The same for the nasturtiums that always seem to find a way.
The French beans are drying nicely in their leathery pods.
If the weather stays cool and dry, there they shall remain until I bring them in to spread on a tray in a warm. dry place.
But if the weather turns, I'll gather them up and hang them in the potting shed until I can hear the beans rattling inside.
Experts say the beans should be light and hollow-sounding when tapped.
They can then be decanted into glass jars for storage in a cool, dark place.
All it takes then is a good overnight soaking before adding to winter stews and soups.
It sounds like a lot of bother in an already busy life.
But I know that when there is nothing but the bare bones left in the earliest months of the year, that finding this jar at the back of the cupboard will bring back all the riches that my garden has offered and the promise of what it will bring again.