19 October 2012

Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

It didn't seem much like John Keats' 'season of mists and mellow fruitfulness' this morning as I stood in the pouring rain with my leaf blower on my back, blowing leaves off the car park at Hill Top; but autumn is definitely here.

Different tree species lose their leaves at different times and it's always the horse chestnuts that go first after a rather half-hearted display of autumn colour. Sycamores are next and they don't even try to put on a show, their leaves turning from an unremarkable green to a sludgy brown before they drop ( I don't like sycamore trees, except in my log-pile). Beech trees do much better and their leaves are starting to colour up nicely with the oaks not far behind. A good frost usually speeds things up but we've been spared that so far.

Hill Top garden has a few good autumn colour candidates including the Eucryphia I mentioned in an earlier post, some deciduous azaleas and a Crimson Glory Vine (Vitis cognetiae) which covers the wall of the pub next door.
Crimson Glory vine
Autumn is the time of year for planting bulbs which will flower next spring, and with that in mind, assisted by my hardy group of volunteers, we planted 900 crocus bulbs and 150 wild daffodils in the walled garden at Monk Coniston (one of the other gardens I look after).
Hopefully by March next year we'll have a fantastic display to brighten up the start of the new season.
Sore knees anyone?
And finally this month, I spent an exhausting but enjoyable day with my colleague Neil, manning the apple shy at the Acorn Bank Apple Day. The stall involved throwing small hard pears at an Aunt sally scarecrow and tring to get a pear into one of her buckets or knock the apple off her head. A steady stream of customers both young and old tried their luck and those with enough skill (or perseverance) were rewarded with a nice juicy apple as a prize.

Tiny ones were encouraged to cheat!
 Other attractions included apple tastings, a Punch and Judy show, live drummers, morris dancing, pruning demonstrations, a local food market, craft demonstrations, archery and Acorn Bank's working watermill. Make a date in your diary for next year.

 Oh well, back to those leaves.....

Post and photos by Pete the Gardener.