I have noticed a change this week. Nothing too drastic; a light dew in the morning, a coolness in the evening and a mushroom on the lawn. The borders are beginning to get a well-worn look about them, the freshness has gone and in its place a darker maturity. Our focus is slowly shifting towards next year, seeds are being collected and sown (“sow some save some” is our mantra this year), last chance cuttings taken. The seed garlic will be ordered this weekend, bulb catalogues studied, lists made. This is the order of things; it doesn’t mean we are not appreciating the moment, just that we want to have a similarly good moment next year. One of the most under-rated aspects of gardening is that of forward planning. It is also one of the most enjoyable parts. It is a time when imagination and ambition come into their own, before these plans are thwarted by storm or drought or beast, when it is pure and unsullied. For just a little while it has a chance to be perfect. We know it is an illusion, but indulge us, it will pass all too soon.