Gertie’s Garden Diary…end of October.
This week, Crystal Palace has been in a cloud, a damp, grey, cool, wet cloud. Gone are all my plans for walkabout with camera, to catch the last flames of acers and sycamores in local gardens, and the old North Wood remnants of oaks and hawthorns, it’s too cold bbrr!!! The chestnut trees are wrinkled and brown, and fast dropping their diseased leaves. Those carmine red Virginia creepers I saw three weeks ago have disappeared, although the ones creeping up the trees are still there. All the abundant greens still in the trees exactly four weeks ago have nearly gone.
Some had barely started their change to Autumn glory and soon they will be stark outlines against a colourless sky: it has been short and sweet .
I can still spot the occasional maple, deep plummy red or flame tipped yellow-orange-red on the outer branches, as I drive past them, but in this dull weather they will soon stop shining, and Winter will take over.
Last year, around this time, people were lamenting the loss of Summer, and the ending of crop lifting and bemoaning the coming of long, and perceived dull Winter days with little to do in their gardens and allotments. At the time I was glad that I didn’t have an allotment, and thus no worries about crops etc. I just pottered about in Gertie’s Garden, tidying up and wondering how my perennials would fare over the coming few months.
This year there are two newcomers in the garden, a pretty, blonde fuchsia, with a blushing purple centre, plus a surprise white flower afterthought on a bush I call shrimp plant, because I can’t remember its proper name. The tiny pink roses on the Blue Hill just flower on and on like butterflies emerging briefly, then dying away after a few days. Through the arbour a fresh, new honeysuckle now blooms with delicate pink and cream flowers; the cherry leaves turn yellow and the
thornless blackberry ones flame, in a corner. :)
I am grateful for the remnants of Autumn colour left, as sweeping up the fallen sycamore leaves, which I don’t even compost as they take so long to rot down, and pruning the roses and stems of past perennials bereft of their former brightness, leaves a slightly desperate feeling for sunshine and a bit more warmth please?! The relatively grim emptiness out there threatens to dim my spirits too, as I struggle to find reasons to turn the grey to a silver lining. Yet look closely and see glowing little spots of bright light embedded in still green foliage; but you do have to look closely, and not be dismayed by the increased proliferation of holey leaves; after all, these are providing food for caterpillars, and at this time of year, caterpillars mean moths, and you like Winter moths :)
The currant bushes will flame again next year, after they have produced some fruit for our desserts; the wisteria is now more mature and will hopefully blossom more profusely, as long as I wrap it’s potted roots against a cold winter;
…and with Christmas coming, the holly will provide festive colour for indoors, and welcome food for visiting field fares and red wings that visit Gertie’s Garden every year. All in all it’s not as dismal as I was thinking.
Anne, October 2012.