It’s around 17ºC in the garden, a little chilly when the sun goes in the clouds, but pleasant when it is out. Mothers come with nursery children about 3.30, along with toddlers, and a little later infants from Godwin. We make sure the child gates are on at the front and side gates as the children are everywhere, though more visible with the buddleia pruned to waist height.

We discuss the little olive tree near the herbs, whether it will survive or not. I’m still pessimistic, others think it will be OK. The leaves are folded and ailing; the test is whether new ones will grow in the spring.
The hellebores by the gate are still in flower, the mild weather prolonging their season. Nearby the scabious are hanging on in a pretty tattered state. They don’t like autumn. The Californian poppies in the small wild flower bed continue to amaze. They have been in flower since June, a longevity only equalled by the tall verbena.

The pond is quiet. I see no water boatmen, just stolid, patient water snails. There is a small papyrus by the edge, which we split in three, making new plants. One is put back, the other two are for sale. There is a single bee on the pond. They have been so prolific this summer, but there’s not many flowers left in the garden for them. There are still spiders around. You see the web and have to look carefully to spot the spider, as they are hiding under a leaf.

The hollyhocks at the back of the pond have all been cut back. Their leaves have holes and tears, damage from snails over the summer, but it doesn’t seem to have affected their flowering. Some plants have poisons to protect themselves, others prickles, but the hollyhock has no defence and takes what comes.

The greenhouse has a few more panes, perspex rather than glass. Nearby, there’s a proliferation of Michaelmas daisies, almost a shrub of them, with their pale blue, daisy-like flowers. In the border along the fence by the buddleia are close relatives, asters, a striking deep purple with yellow centres.

By the side gate, on the path under the large sycamore, are many snail trails. It has been so dry the last couple of weeks, I wonder that they survive, but then we water, and plants have aqueous sap.

The sycamore has dangling bundles of brown helicopters, the seeds of the tree. Its leaves are crinkling, yellowing, and brown at the edges as if scorched. The tree shuts down nutrients to the leaves which causes autumn colour prior to their fall. I feel sorry for them. The leaves have been faithful servants over the summer, by photosynthesis providing the tree’s food. But now with the temperature dropping, getting too low for photosynthesis, the sycamore has no further use for them, and so, like a ruthless mill owner, dumps them.