|Wisteria seedpods replacing the ubiquitous golden and red leaves of autumn. Gorgeous, aren't they?|
This post has been a while in the writing. I got a bit stuck because when I went looking for autumn, it just wasn't there. My mid-October trip up to Capel Manor gardens to meet up with friends provided me with lots of late summer planting inspiration but, apart from lots of acorns underfoot, autumn hadn't yet got started; trees were in full leaf, flowers were blooming and the sun was shining. Then we had the clocks going back which, although being a publicly devised event, seemed to be a signifier for the season to change. The ornamental cherry I can see from my second floor window has obliged by turning gold.
Also last weekend, as I went through my Capel photos and prepared to write a 'late summer' post, I was taken aback by a British gardener on Instagram writing "Winter's coming. Autumn's last days." Already? Surely not! The sun was shining and people were picnicking on Primrose Hill in t-shirts. Not a cosy cardigan in sight. And besides, I've always thought of autumn as occurring between September and November, with fading summer at one end and the slow transition into the shorter and colder days ahead at the other. Winter months are then December to February (makes sense, no?) and, in March to May (Spring!), the garden starts to wake and we prepare for the year ahead. Anyone agree?
So here we are, a week later, and it seems that the tipping point has been reached. We are now properly into autumn here; leaves are dropping and the veg patch's summer produce is winding down. My creative brain is looking out for fallen leaves of all colours for a future arty moment, and thinking about evergreen foliage for festive wreaths, while my gardener's eye spots seeds to collect all around the neighbourhood. Little brown paper envelopes are filling up with seeds of deep red salvia, maroon and pink hollyhocks, Cerinthe, Calendula, fennel, sweet rocket, sweet peas, Cavolo Nero and Achocha (the South American peppers that I grow). My chilli plant has optimistically been brought indoors.
This morning there was a deep mist hanging over north London after yesterday's sunshine; it didn't last as the sun burnt through to give us another day of clear blue skies. I have quite a bit to do in the garden still so I'm going to make the most of the dry weather while it lasts, particularly as I spent last Saturday digging out concrete posts in a friend's garden in constant drizzle! And for the rest of November I'll be enjoying autumn and prepping the garden for the winter months to come.
What are your thoughts - when does winter start for you? Have you wrapped up the garden or still enjoying a few lingering moments of summer glory?
As I don't want to just dump the photos that I took at Capel to the depths of Flickr, let's celebrate what could be growing in your gardens at the moment.
|Magnolia bud, Passionflower, Ornamental ginger (Hedychium densiflorum 'Assam Orange')|
|All these are perfect for late season pollinators: |
Salvia cacaliifolia, Geranium pratense 'Mrs Kendall Clarke', Aconitum
|The Daisy/Asteraceae family: Rudbeckia, Dahlia, Calendula|
|More daisies … and, hopefully, more bees!|
|Sunshine colour from evergreen Libertia peregrinans, muted tones of Hydrangea 'Dark Angel' and I have no idea what this last plant is. All suggestions welcome!|
|Looking good at this moment: Shortly to slump Sedum, Callicarpa aka 'Beauty Berry' in its one annual moment of glory and Leycesteria formosa, boring all year but lovely seed pods in autumn.|