Lucy's Garden Journal: Autumn

19 Oct 2022

For most, the change in seasons requires some adjustment. Not least in our wardrobes and homes, but in the way we interact with the great outdoors. In the garden, some might say it can feel a little gloomy as we ease into cooler months. For one thing, there’s a rather regretful wave goodbye to the bright and energetic colour palette of the summer. But autumn mustn’t be underestimated. This is where the magic of next summer’s crop begins after all – whether preserving perennials or sewing seeds with excitement – it’s a time for taking stock and planning for greater things. And, of course, with a new season comes a whole new palette with a charm of its very own.

As colours calm and become bleached, pops of red from the Crab Apples really prop the garden up. I always intend to make Crab Apple jelly so we’ll see if I actually manage it this year – failing that, they’ll be passed along to someone who will.

Another welcome contribution to the seasonal colour scheme is the Verbena which is taller than ever – a fan of the long, dry summer it seems. Every year it self-seeds a little bit more (what a helpful chap) and provides some welcome coverage and colour where fellow flowers are dying off.
As the temperature drops, it’s time to move the Geraniums and Pelargoniums into the greenhouse – welcome companions for the soon-to-be hibernating tortoises. I just love the bright, clashy colours beaming from the greenhouse at this time of year – like a little reminder that warmer months will return again.
Experimenting with sunflowers has been rather joyous this year too. I’ve really enjoyed growing the multi-stem variety – regularly chopping and bringing them inside to make vases of varying flower heads. Next year, I’d like to introduce even more variety and broaden the spectrum of colour from the deepest reds to the palest lemon yellows. I always dry the heads and use some seeds for the following year, but make sure to leave some for the birds to enjoy too.
Most of the Dahlias are also still going strong as I’m trying to keep on top of the deadheading – though I lost a few this week due to an unexpected frost at the top of the garden. Those in more sheltered spots should keep giving for another few weeks and the Chrysanthemums I’ve put in will keep the colour alive well into November and December, even after the Dahlias have died off.

Waving goodbye to al fresco summer suppers and sunset tipples is never easy – but as the garden adjusts, so must we – and it’s then that we begin to see the magic of the months that lie ahead.

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