The generally wet Autumn weather continued throughout November with everywhere muddy under foot. The second full national lockdown was in effect throughout the month in an effort to control spiralling cases of Covid-19 in the vain hope it would make things better for Christmas. In the garden the last leaves dropped from the tree and turned to brown and the majority of flowers had faded. Occasionally, weakening Autumn sun would emerge from behind the clouds and brighten the day.
Our Tiny Garden
The lawn installed in the first lockdown of March has taken something of a battering. It didn’t really have an opportunity to bed in properly in the first place – it’s difficult to stay off it in a garden the size of ours and with all the rain of Autumn it has become increasing sodden. I didn’t get the chance to re-seed any of it at the right point in early Autumn so it will have to wait until Spring for its resurrection. As food sources become more scarce we have increasing numbers of visitors to the bird feeders. That includes several Grey Squirrels which hang off the feeders acrobatically and generally throw their considerable weight around. They are quite cute though.
The soundtrack to the Autumn and particularly November is that of migrating Geese honking away overhead as they begin their long journeys. I made numerous attempts to capture a shot of them as they flew over the garden in their enormous ‘V’ formations. Most of the time I was too late by the time I’d managed to get my camera lens off so this is the best I managed. Not quite as spectacular as the Starling murmurations you also see at this time of the year but a wonder of nature nonetheless, and a joy to behold in these otherwise difficult times.
The Circle of Life
The final leaves dropped from the tree in early November leaving a a skeleton of arching tentacles reaching up into the sky. Although they look a little denuded I actually quite enjoy being able to see the full architecture of trees in the Winter, though this doesn’t mean I won’t be yearning for the green buds of Spring before long. Fallen leaves also contribute to the natural cycles of rejuvenation, replenishing the soil as they are broken down. Any leaves that land amongst the border plants are left to do their own thing in our garden. I only clear those that fall on the lawn and the paving in order to avoid a squelchy, slippery mess developing. These I gather up into old compost bags and leave behind the shed to turn into that magical substance, leafmould. The image on the right below is what’s left of last Autumn’s leaves. Possibly by Spring it will be ready to add into my planters and give the new growth a boost.
The seed heads of Achillea, Calamagrostis and Crocosmia are still standing and what they lack in colour they may up for in form and structure. On a sunnier day they can catch the light, elevating their appeal further.
The dinner plate sized palmate leaves of Fatsia japonica give a welcome jungle feel to the end of the garden. Just to add to this, a spike of slightly alien looking flower buds has also emerged. I don’t remember it flowering before so I’m curious to see what they look like when they fully emerge. The dark green rosettes of Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae are also quite appealing.
There are a few lingering splashes of colour around. The orange and purple Viola that I planted in early Autumn have carried on flowering. With the rest of the garden now so muted their vivid colour is actually quite jarring, like saccharine sweets from a pick and mix. Still, they are a cheerful distraction. Elsewhere white and pink Cyclamen have continued to flower while the rusty red flower buds of Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ have also emerged.
We’ve reached the time of year where the allotment provides solid winter veg for hearty stews. I’m actually very pleased with its continuing productivity this year, whereas last year I missed the boat with some of the later produce and the plot was somewhat under-utilised. They may not be pretty much they are certainly tasty!
To see what was happening in the garden in October, click here
To see what happens next in December, click here
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