It’s happened, at last – autumn colour has hit my garden. Maybe that should be in the past tense, because I looked out of the window this morning and realised that the sudden drop in temperature had led to an inevitable conclusion: the ground was covered with leaves. Oh well, It was good while it lasted. That was for about five minutes.
See this rather lovely Acer, protected from the worst of the wind by my giant hedge? Looked luminous for maybe a week. Now it looks like this:
(But I still think the colours are fab – just not quite the same.) Incidentally, I have been immensely pleased with the two boxes of French Marigolds I bought at Wilkinsons way back in the spring. They have flowered consistently and abundantly, and have looked wonderful – I’ve been quite careful about dead-heading, but that’s not been a hassle – and I am going to plant a whole load more next year. They will look great under the acer, and the couple that are there already have certainly not shown any difference in vigour from the ones in more open conditions. Next year – a river of them. If I remember…
One of the new things we have done this year has made a profound change to the middle garden. We dug up a great chunk of lawn to make a new bed – or, rather, to increase the size of the existing bed around the sundial so it no longer looks like a ‘tom tit on a round of beef’ in the middle of the lawn. It’s not planted up yet, except for a Gillenia trifoliata and three really blue Festuca glaucas. The big ash in that garden dropped all its leaves at once, and I must admit I quite like the effect in the grasses.
(Raking the lawns and the grasses is one of this morning’s jobs. Honest. No, really – I try to leave Monday mornings free for gardening, if I can. Gardening and sheltering from the weather.)
We have a very strange kind of autumn here generally, without a lot of the stunning colour you get elsewhere. Yes, the woods do colour up, eventually, but they’re never quite as spectacular as you’d expect; nor does it last very long. Climate, I think, has been the consensus of opinion. Too mild, perhaps, though not this morning. It’s hailing right now.
One thing which is always reliable in my garden is the blueberry, which is why I keep it. I’ve given up netting it to keep the birds off the berries – sooo ugly, plus they get in anyway and have to be released with lots of flapping and feline interest – so I just enjoy the stunning autumn colour.
I particularly like the way stray leaves find their way all over the garden – you can be in a completely different area and suddenly encounter the bright surprise of a scarlet leaf. I’m not sure that scarlet is the right term, though – they’re more of a bright cherry red, if that makes a sense. I always think of scarlet as a sharper colour, perhaps with more yellow. (For one friend, scarlet is Thursday. And seven. Truly a strange world, synaesthesia, to those of us without it.)
Another crop I’ve become increasingly lazy about is the crab apple harvest.
I used to be very good. They got used, and the ones I couldn’t cope with got shared around. Picking was a two-person job, involving balancing on the wall around the old pigsty or on a very precarious stepladder over rough ground and filling carrier bags, but – quite frankly – the amount of crab apple jelly I get through is minimal, and friends and neighbours started making excuses. So I’ve settled for perhaps taking a few and putting them with blackberries or other foraged fruits in a sweeter jelly and leaving the rest to light up that end of the garden like little lanterns in the branches.
And then you have a hailstorm and they all fall off. Grrr.
Also busy falling off are all the leaves from the Rosa rugosa hedges. It’s always quite a shock when they fall – they really do give me a lot of privacy and I suddenly feel very exposed. But the colours are fab,
and they certainly brighten the place up.
Every autumn is different, and one of my most reliable providers of colour hasn’t really got going this year at all: the ginkgo is still quite green, but the leaves are coming off. Normally they turn a clear yellow first, and the same applies to the birches. I’m putting this down entirely to the weirdly warm weather we’ve had until now. That is also, I guess, responsible for this:
Weeds germinating. Everywhere. Presumably some of them aren’t weeds – some are quite clearly cerinthes, for instance, last deliberately planted a couple of years ago – but it looks like April in some areas. Ridiculous.
More hail! More hail!