Autumn Leaves


Time for a ‘Fungus Foray’ in an English wood

“No Spring nor Summer Beauty hath such grace 
As I have seen in one Autumnal face.”
                                                        –   John Donne

An Artists Eye

For every poet, Autumn provides wonderful inspiration for ‘waxing lyrical’—and rightly so– it’s a beautiful season.

Like them, the painter or photographer’s eye always sees more than the rest of us. By going about their business in those ‘golden hours'( one hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset they are able to catch the special lighting effects of early morning and the lengthening of the shadows in the evening when most of us have gone home.

With summer’s heat and haze giving way to morning mists and mellow sun, autumn is re-colouring the landscape once more. The rich autumnal yellows, golds, browns, purples and reds,  give the artists the welcome chance to change their palettes, bringing out the ‘warmer colours’ in place of the dominant ‘universal greens’ of summer.

Things to catch the photographer and camera man’s eye are the spider’s webs bejewelled with dew drops gleaming in the morning light, as well as the trees appearing mysteriously out of the early morning mist or the fruit trees blushing under the weight of rosy-coloured fruits awaiting harvesting invitingly. The fall of the leaves from the trees opens up the distant views, previously hidden by summer’s lush growth, and distant woods appear again, their colours changing as the autumn takes hold.—a glorious closing Act—nature’s final fling.

This is no time to hang up your boots and retreat to the warmth indoors. There are jobs a-plenty in the garden. I can employ our gardener right through the year ( for 2 hours a week). Much of the basic work needs to be done now. But don’t be too busy—autumn’s colourful show will not last, so:

‘Having looked up
From the day’s chores, pause a minute,
Let the mind take its photograph
Of the bright scene, something to wear
Against the heart in the long cold. ‘

From the poem ‘A Day in Autumn’ by  the Welsh poet R.S. Thomas

My indoor winter flowering pot plants are looking good in the greenhouse. There should be a good display soon, beginning with the November flowering Christmas Cactus plants, followed by the early flowering Paper White Narcissus bulbs, Lachenalias, Velthemias  and the early indoor Cyclamen. Now is that time of year when the garden comes indoors as well as the gardener, and I love it. There is always something to look forward too– that’s the joy of it. Even outside in the garden there will be some plants in flower,  whatever the weather.

‘One leaf falls in the stillness of the air slowly, as if let down by gossamer gently and not as a stone falls—fate delayed to the last…There is a shower from a clear sky under the trees in the forest of brown acorns rattling as they fall and rich coloured Spanish chestnuts thumping the sward, and sometimes striking you as you pass under; they lie on the ground in pocketfuls.’

‘Just Before Winter’  -by the 19th century naturalist, Richard Jefferies

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