Autumn Gardening in 2001

 'the Autumn leaves...don't make a sound...'
Autumn Gingko Leaves

I know what the books say about Autumn - they mention the changes in leaf colour, the gradual dying down of the garden, the cooler days, bonfires and so on. These aren't the things I remember about Autumn at all.

I can't remember anything very clearly. In fact, I've had to peep back at the diary entries. There aren't many - which puzzles me. I know that the garden here winds down slowly, with no dramatic climate shocks.

There's a lack of urgency, probably because the approaching winter will always be 'gardenable'. Many plants seem puzzled by Autumn's lack of definition - the dahlias stubbornly produce huge blooms, new shoots.

Late Blooming Roses

I know that I'm at my most greedy in Autumn. I don't want to cut back or divide any of the perennials, and I'm too mean minded to trim the lavender, because they are still flowering. I stop deadheading the roses, but I expect them to keep blooming.

The sky blue sages get taller and taller, and without fail the Othello rose by the patio starts building new buds - a brave and pushy rose! The hybrid flaxes seem to suddenly have more room in the garden beds.

 Autumn colours in my garden.
Sedums and Catmint

I do love the sedums. The colours of their flower-heads change daily, and the bees crawl all over them, and all over the crazy Korean angelica with its bright purple flower. The few chrysanthemums I bother to grow always flop over, and the dahlias already flopped bravely continue to flower at ground level.

 'they fall so gently...upon the ground...'
More Autumn Leaves

No Wind

In Autumn there is virtually no wind. The afternoons and early evenings are calmly serene, if a little cold, but the first frosts don't usually arrive until May. The flaxes and grasses shine in the borders, as ever very beautiful.

There is a quiet progression of colour change in the trees. Many of the driveway trees turn yellow, and slowly their leaves drip onto the ground making a carpet of gold.

I garden all through the Autumn, wearing warm gardening shirts and polypropylene thermals. I have burnups of debris and woody rubbish, and often stay by the fire as the light fades

Autumn Garden Sales

The garden center Easter sales offer end of season perennials, long past flowering, cheap at the price, and the Winter mail order catalogues arrive. I take cuttings, collect seeds, and resolve to fully label the results. I pretend that my glass-house is tidy and organised. I pretend that I am organised.

But mostly Autumn is full of resolutions, which I am certain that I'll keep in the following gardening year. And do I?....That's another seasonal story...