Since October is traditionally a leafy month, let's start with a leafy story, one set appropriately in the south west. During our long hot summer, coastal resorts in the region have been invaded by countless emmets and grockles depending on whether you live in Cornwall or Devon. One picturesque spot which always sees a heaving influx of visitors is St Ives on the Cornish north coast. Now, the patron saint of St Ives is St Ia, a pious lady of noble Irish birth who, with her companions, proposed to sail from the south c0ast of Ireland to take the Word to the heathens of Cornwall just across the water. Her entourage numbered 777. (These sorts of details are important in the authentication of the story). Rather sadly, Ia arrived at the quayside too late to catch the ferry with her friends on board. Mortified and, it has to be said, embarrassed, she fell on her knees and prayed with matchless fervent piety. The Good Lord heard her prayer and gathering her up, wafted her across the briny on a leaf depositing her on the beach at St Ives. This was accomplished with such speed that Ia was able to welcome the others on the sandy shore much to their very great surprise.
A number of questions clearly arise here, not the least of which would be 'What sort of leaf?' As good an answer as any would be the leaf of that prickle noble plant Gunnera - a giant rhubarb with spikes. The main stem would serve as a mast and it grows all over the south west of Ireland. Other large leaf plants which seem to have done well this year, certainly in pots where they have benefited from occasional dollops of water, are the Colocasias or taro, the bananas we have nursed through the winter, and the Tetrapanax, which shed the odd leaf but still coped.
All these plants, needless to say, are not native to these shores, nor are they particularly hardy. On the other hand, things are changing season upon season. We have all been conscious of falling leaves from mid-August onwards. In fact, Autumn has arrived early, and the gardening calendar is all over the place. However, the new season of talks at Wells Gardening Club got underway in September with another hugely impressive talk by Timothy Walker of Oxford University. And October's meeting will be addressed by Rosemary Legrand, another old friend and very entertaining speaker. She will be taking us on a tour of Japan in the Springtime, a part of the world which she knows well as a plantswoman and traveller. Details as follows: Thursday 13th October 2022, Wells Town Hall 7.30 pm, Rosemary Legrand “Japan in Spring”. Everyone welcome. Members £1, Visitors £3. Refreshments.