Late Roses – 26th November, 2023

It has been cold the last few days, with a frost this morning. Frosts mean the end of the mushroom season but also has benefits in that they kill off pests like greenfly that would survive the winter. If our winters continue to be mild, and we get them without frosts we will have more pests attacking vegetables and decorative plants.

The cold weather makes the pond almost lifeless, apart from plants and snails. All other animal life is dormant and will stay so until we get the warm weather of spring, when hopefully we’ll get tadpoles. Dormant in the murk of the pond are very late tadpoles, and the larvae of dragonflies and damselflies.

In the spite of the chill, there are a few flowers hanging on. The marigolds of course, deadhead them and on they flower. There are a few late roses, pink hybrid teas, in the rose arch. In Sophie’s herb planter, pineapple salvias, with their crimson drips, are in bloom, and a yellow autumn lily at the end of the pergola.

The leaves have gone on the sycamore, and on the cherry trees. The silver birch still has many of its leaves, gone yellow, like tiny flags amidst the male catkins. There are no females as yet, they come in spring. It’s the male catkins that have to endure the winter. The yellow leaves will paper the ground in a yellow shower in a week or so.

Leaf fall has been a little late this year. Two factors affect autumn leaf colour and leaf fall. They are temperature and shortening days. The shortening days are brought about by the earth’s position round the sun, and is not affected at all by climate change. But climate change has made this one of the warmest autumns on record. This has delayed leaf fall, and one wonders the long term effects as climate change bites deeper.

We are on the cusp of COP28 being held in Dubai, from November 30, a city in the United Arab Emirates. Its economy is based on oil, and so it is almost a joke that Dubai was chosen to host the talks. If we are to get anywhere mitigating climate change we must severely curtail fossil fuels. Can anyone see Dubai agreeing to do that? And that’s without saying a word on its poor human rights record.

 Sunjeev Bery, executive director for climate and human rights campaign organisation Freedom Forward, whose organisation will not be attending COP28 for fear of arrest, says, ‘Fossil fuel lobbyists and oil executives will be free to roam the halls, while climate and human rights activists will be busy worrying that their phones are hacked by the UAE’s spies while wondering if they will be thrown behind bars if they speak too loudly.’

 Greta Thunberg has declared the Dubai COP ‘Ridiculous.’

 On Saturday, 25 November, the garden hosted a sustainable gifts fair. The various stalls sold pottery, woollens, toys, clothing, hats, bags, art works, books and cakes. On the Dare to Dream stage, as part of the fair, Sonya Patel Ellis directed wreath making for Christmas, a very popular activity. The garden made tea and coffee, very welcome on a cold November day.


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