One of the bronze sunflowers which I sowed in the spring for cutting and have been cutting for the last few days, on the point of opening.
While in the vegetable garden I hear a cracking sound behind me, louder than an air gun quieter than a rifle shot. It is a hazel nut falling onto the paving. The ground under the hazel trees is littered with nutshells, which squirrels, every year, open and discard. What the silly animals have failed to realize, from generation to generation, is that invariably the shells are empty, because they open them before there has been time for them to mature. Had this nut survived their predations? No such luck: it too was barren. It will be another month before the "cob nuts" a name local to Kent and Sussex will be ready and on sale in the Farmers' Market. I don't blame the squirrels for their optimistic attacks. The nuts, when they are ready, have a white and creamy texture which is remarkable and addictive, once you have tasted them.
My preference on the whole is for white and green in a garden, with a minimum of hot colours. But today when cutting flowers in the vegetable garden, I am struck by the bold clash of colours which occur when I place some nasturtiums next to a purple dahlia. I think of the abstract, majestic oblongs of contrasting colours, which the great American painter, Rothko places side by side on his simple, mystical canvases.