At the start of September we had a slight blip in the weather, and suffered around two weeks of damp, chilly, rain-filled days.
And this happened.
Yes, the ebola of the gardener’s world mercilessly struck down my fruits and soon they all started to wilt. I ruthlessly pruned, tearing off any leaf or branch that showed even the faintest trace of discolouration. But it was no use. Each time I returned a few more plants had rotted, and there seemed to be nothing I could do about it. I began concocting plans for constructing an allotment greenhouse, and waited.
The sun came back, but my fruits remained stubbornly unripe and their once-lush spider-festooned foliage became steadily more shrivelled. I became steadily more shrivelled, and bitter, watching my dreams of chutneys and sauces and general lycopene binge drift further and further away. It seemed that any fruit which did begin to go red soon faded to brown patches, finally rotting and falling off. I started concocting plans to borrow an incinerator and burn the pestilent things.
And then today (Thursday) this had happened. The Gardener’s Delight, which seems to be more resistant to the blight than the heirloom varieties, popped red all over. I discovered one or two Genovese were red without any brown, and four orange banana were almost orange.
It’s not what I had hoped for, but it was a welcome end-of-the-summer present. It might even manage to make a ragout with the courgettes’ halfhearted swansong.
Now, back to the blueprints for my greenhouse.