Derek – Friday 22nd October 2021

Changeable weather has come in with the autumn winds. We’ve had lots of rain in the last few weeks, some sun and up-and-down temperatures. The days are shortening; at the end of the month we lose an hour of light. Well, not actually lose; we play with the clock to push an extra daylight hour into the morning at the expense of the evening light.

Thousands of helicopters from the sycamore are scattered about the garden. On the tree they are twinned, but on the ground nearly all have separated to a single seed. In the UK there are four trees which produce helicopter seeds: field maple, ash, sycamore, and Norway maple. The term refers to the way the seeds spiral through the air as they fall from the tree. Other names for the winged seeds are spinning jenny, whirligig, whirlybird and wing-nut. All but the ash are varieties of Acer.

The sycamore leaves are losing their green and turning yellow. Many have fallen and we’ll be sweeping up leaves for weeks, through to early December, when leaf fall is at an end.

The fence between us and Gateway’s site is almost complete. At ground level we can see less of what they are up to, but we can hear them well enough on weekdays with the drills, lorries, and diggers. They have given us 12 euonymus plants, ones they had left over from their own planting. We can plant some in the garden and sell the others in our next sale.

In a few weeks, the ground Gateway borrowed from us, we’ll get back. Once we have it, we have ambitious plans for the pergola, currently just a roof on wooden supports. We intend to make it more wind and waterproof, so we can hold classes in it.

There’s a cluster of red autumn cyclamen by the rose arch, very welcome colour these dull days. The red is a bright shock in the languid greenery. We haven’t a lot else in bloom. There’s our bathtub of violas with its cheery yellows, whites, blues, and reds, a few marigolds here and there, and a sprinkling of perennial wallflower. All the roses have gone, battered away by the high winds.

The acanthus is once again in full foliage. The leaves are deep green and shaped like gigantic oak leaves. Snails love them, but even absolutely devastated by gastropods, the acanthus somehow flowers. Now, with the snails semi-dormant in the chilly weather, the plant is back in leaf, providing a dome of foliage. All that could grow underneath would be fungi, which don’t need light. Not that I have seen any in our garden, and I have really looked.

But outside the garden, at the foot of a plane tree, at the top of the side road used by the Royal Mail and the Co-op, is a cluster of mushrooms. They might be Pluteus cervinus, said to be edible, but please don’t try them on my say-so. I have little confidence in my identification.

On Saturday 30th October we have Welcoming Winter from 1 to 3pm, our yearly celebration. There will be live music, and hot and cold refreshments, including home-made soup and bread. Cross your fingers for a fine day. The Cereal Project book, currently at the printers, I am hoping will be available. Another cause for celebration.

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