I went to the hairdresser this morning, and like Spike Milligan who could not understand why they cut down hundred foot trees to make him look shorter, was bemused to emerge with seemingly so much less hair when I am trying to grow it. My hairdresser did explain before she started to do anything that we had reached a decision point. Was my aim now to continue to grow my hair, or keep it at around its present length, which is a lot longer than it was but nowhere near collar length? I said I wanted to let it grow longer to see what it would be like, since if it turned out to be awful it she could always chop it off again, and she was pleased because growing out naturally curly silver hair is a project she doesn't get to do every day, while middling length crops for middle aged ladies are bread and butter fare. Though as she is a shrewd businesswoman and all round decent human being I daresay she'd have sounded enthusiastic if I'd said that the current curly halo was as far as I was going.
Apparently we have now reached a tricky phase of the project, as the bit growing on top of my head has to grow down to reach the sides before the whole thing can be shaped into a proper bob. Once that's done the hair can be allowed go down further or be kept up around the level of my jawline without any major reworking. She warned me that the top might go increasingly sticky-uppy for the next five weeks or so, before gravity defeated it and it consented to grow downwards instead, so in the meantime she would shape the bits round the back to make the top look more as though it was that length on purpose. I have trust in her judgement, and anyway I'm curious to see what happens next. If the whole project comes to naught and she ends up cutting it short then never mind, having vaguely comical hair for a few weeks is not a major problem in the grand scheme of things. I think she is genuinely fired up by the great reshaping project. Apparently she has persuaded one of her other clients who has had short hair for ages to try growing it.
I saw my parents for lunch, while the Systems Administrator waited for my mystery parcel. I am expecting a couple of consignments of plants, and thought this one might be from the nursery in deepest Lincolnshire that does some unusual things at very reasonable prices, but does not use Paypal or have a secure online credit card facility so that I ended up sending them a limit cheque. An email from the delivery company arrived yesterday saying that the parcel would be arriving today, but didn't say who the parcel was from, which fitted with the Lincolnshire nursery's slight lack of polish in the customer facing direction. However, when I got home the box standing in the hall was branded Ashwood Nurseries. I was impressed. I only put the order in with them the day before yesterday.
It was a tall, narrow box, and I cut the parcel tape so that I could look in at the top to see my plants nicely nestled at the bottom, all leafy and intact. The instructions on the box actually said to open the bottom of the box and let the plants slide out, which I did, carefully, and out they came accompanied by a scattering of compost over the kitchen floor. I have bought from Ashwood before and they have lovely packaging. The plants had bags round their pots, to keep the compost in (or at least most of it) and the roots damp while keeping the packaging dry, then the bagged pots were taped into a shallow box that fitted snugly inside the deep one. The pots could not move around and would not tumble over each other if the package were tipped during transit, so much better than jamming everything in with balls of scrunched up newspaper.
They were three salvias. Not strictly necessary, since I have enough other things to be getting on with in the garden without introducing three extra pots to water, but I love salvias and they are so good for late summer colour when a lot of the border perennials have finished flowering. The absolute pick was Salvia tubiflora, with orange flowers, which I have wanted for ages but last year Ashwood ran out of stock before I got round to ordering any. Then I got a red 'Royal Bumble' to go with the new red dahlia, and the snapdragons growing on from seed. The SA admired 'Royal Bumble' at Chelsea and while I am officer in charge of plant sourcing I do try to take account of what the SA likes as well as indulging my own tastes. Finally I went for Salvia patens 'Cambridge Blue' to go on the terrace. The pale yellow dahlia it is supposed to go with is growing on nicely, but the Cosmos 'Xanthos' are still weedy little things and the pale blue Convolulus sabiatus is still in Lincolnshire, so that particular scheme may or may not be working out.