image of vine leaves

Vine Leaves – Sunday 12th November, 2023

Another wet November day. Chilly but not yet cold enough to deter mushrooms. On the limit though, perhaps the ground is holding a little heat, as in a walk in Epping Forest yesterday, I saw more mushrooms than I’d ever seen in the forest before, growing on the ground, on decaying stumps, and growing off trees.

Few visitors today. It has been raining on and off, though a little sunshine, but it was just a tease, not enough to bring in the crowds.

Around the garden there are a surprising number of flowers for so late in the year. Marigolds of course, but also pink penstemons which always remind me of foxgloves, some red salvias, and even a lone hollyhock flower.

We have our autumn leaf colour: yellow sycamore leaves with dark circles like spots on a dice, our cherry trees with leaves in red and green, but the most eye-catching is the vine under the small pergola, the hand-shaped leaves seem to have been stencil-sprayed with red, yellow and green.

November is the big month for leaf fall. Although, it begins in September and increases in October, most trees have more than half of their leaves remaining. This month will see the trees cleared of leaves, relapsing into winter dormancy. The buds are already there, but await spring warmth to bring out the new leaf.

A yucca root was stuck on a post near the pond. The root clump looks like head of a mischievous imp with a tangle of black hair. Surprisingly, out of the roots, yucca leaves have sprouted. They are not in soil but feeding off the food within the roots. How long they will keep going, we don’t know, but we are considering potting the plantlet up, to add to our plant stall.

Our water tap is being boxed in, a wooden box covering the stem of the standpipe, with a lid for the tap itself. This is both to protect it and stop someone leaving the tap on, and our valuable resource running away. We have hardly had to use the tap at all so far, as it wasn’t put in until late summer. And since then rainfall has meant no tap necessary. We won’t be needing it until the spring, as every barrel we have is full to the brim. If only we could sell what we have to Thames Water, like excess electricity to the grid, I am sure the barrels would fill again soon enough.

October has been the hottest month globally on record, with the year itself on track to be the warmest on record. These landmarks add up to a heating globe. Perhaps like cigarette packets, there should be carbon warnings on aircraft tickets, given to you at petrol pumps, on plastic water bottles and on sacks of cement.

We are sleepwalking into climate catastrophe.In two weeks time, there will be a sustainable craft sale in the garden (Saturday, 25 November, 11 to 3pm). The various stalls will be selling pottery, fabric, toys, wreaths, and books. There’ll be coffee and cakes to keep stallholders and customers warm.

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