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My poor container plants are all higgledy-piggledy. There are geraniums on the steps and a loquat tree teetering on the wall, the lawn is developing oval-shaped sickly yellow patches under tubs of mint dumped and still there two weeks after moving, and all my lovingly-sown salad leaves, still in their seed tray about to be transplanted into their large and roomy trough, were eaten by large snails on the first night we got here.

But though I could be gloomy and pessimistic I am not: for among it all appeared a single flower which has become my Good Omen and convinced me that despite all evidence to the contrary everything is going to be All Right.

I posted some time ago about an unfeasibly big Hedychium I was given which I promptly split in three. You won’t be at all surprised to find that the experimental portion I left in the ground perished forthwith during last year’s winter: but I have two left. The one in the house is alive, but small and not very enthusiastic: but the one I overwintered in the greenhouse is rude with health.

Since I knew I was moving I kept it in the pot: it only just survived the move, in fact, as while it was on its perilous trip from greenhouse to removal van there was a horrible creaking and ripping noise and one of the large branches listed drunkenly sideways. The removal van was rather sweet, if a little gung-ho, and grabbed a nearby leg of greenhouse staging to plunge it in the pot: he then used a webbing strap of the sort they have in removal lorries to lash the whole lot together. Heath Robinson it may be but it saved my ginger lily.

It has rewarded me – and, in absentia, the removal van man – by producing its first-ever flower spike. It is a little late in the season and since temperatures are dropping by the hour it may never quite make it to flowering stage: but even the fact that it’s trying is one of those little signs of hope which help you make it through the cardboard boxes and out the other side.

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