Week 32

Autumn’s in the house

When we open our back door autumn comes in. The big ash tree likes to decorate our kitchen. But the ash is almost bare these days.

Trees are always on my mind. This autumn I can’t escape them. They are showing themselves around every corner, and underfoot. I know I need to start planting again soon, I have been delayed by a number of things, but for once I haven’t been delayed by the weather.

It is an autumn like I have never experienced up here. Such a calm September and October. The trees are holding on to their leaves for as long as they can. So unseasonal that dandelions are flowering again and even a sickly hosta which often struggles in our spring, has come back.

We have been living on The Calendar Road for 22 years and I have always considered the seasons. It’s hard not to. In those early years, we had much harsher winters and sunnier summers. Winters where snow and ice were almost guaranteed and October would often deliver stormy weather. So I have had every reason to be out in the garden with my trusty spade, and I haven’t been able to.

The planting season for trees is just beginning, and I console myself with the fact that I have already reached the target of 52 trees in a year. Also how well are the oaks doing? We have only a few but they are thriving. We now have a red oak which is like a flame in the long acre. Unlike the ash who has almost dropped all, the oaks are still holding on to most of their leaves giving nature time for colour. Other trees in the garden which have a strong showing are the hazels and the cobnut, their big hand-sized leaves turning all shades of green, yellow and orange. And the non-native dogwood – its bark a rich burgundy and leaves across the colour spectrum.

So the trees are reminding me to wait until all leaves have touched the ground before I plant again. Or at least that’s what I’m taking from this late autumn. This coming October 31st brings another Samhain, a special anniversary, and the loss of an hour daylight. Thankfully this colourful autumn will shorten those dark days of winter.

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