It doesn’t seem right to call a post ‘October’ when so much of the dramatic change happened in one week, and that week was in November. We’ve had autumn colour, you see. And now we have bare branches, and the autumn colour is all over the grass, paths, beds, plants, compost heap, oil tank, cold frame, etc, and a tide of leaves has been blown up against the walls like spume from a stormy sea. One week. But a good week.
And the birches have been beautiful:
My birch – well, the one I have been following – is the one behind the Big Thug, and look at the colour of that trunk. When I started following my baby downy birch as part of Loose and Leafy‘s tree following meme in March the trunk was still distinctly orange, though there were signs that my babe might be growing up enough to change colour. I think it’s done it, at least at this level.
Even higher up, very markedly orange until recently, there’s been a change as the old skin has been shed. Smaller branches and new twigs are still orangey brown (deep brown in the case of twigs), but the silveriness is extending higher and higher. Who’s a big boy, then?
The leaves started colouring – or maybe that should really be ‘uncolouring’ – very, very gradually with just one or two going all the way at first. Then more and more began to develop an elegant brown and golden border,
starting with a delicate brown tip. There are no more shield bugs (I can’t believe they have started hibernating already; apart from a couple of chilly nights, it’s still been quite mild), but the late-season sun has been very warm – ideal for basking – and they’ve been absent, so they must have gone elsewhere. England, probably, given the strength of some of the winds.
Then more and more of the leaves quite quickly became completely yellow, though they were still firmly attached. The ‘cones’ also suddenly matured and started shedding seeds everywhere:
I swear this happened overnight, though – as seen in by the ones in the background of the next shot – there are still a lot which haven’t quite matured enough. I’m also intrigued by the way in which they seem to shed naturally from the bottom; that end must ripen first.
And then, of course, along comes a big wind and all the leaves fly off. I can now almost count the ones remaining on the tree (sigh).
It’s not just the followed birch, of course, which is now all over the meadow; there are contributions from the other two, and from the ashes and apples (last year there would have been some from the rowan as well, but that succumbed to the January storms). They are scattered over everything, but most notably over the astonishing mushroom (non-)crop which has marked this autumn.
They sit rather nicely in the cup formed by a very mature brown roll-rim… and the mushrooms are over too, now.
See you next year, autumn…