November is an endless competition between me and leaves! The two sycamores in my garden and the beautiful tulip tree next door rain down an endless golden brown confetti throughout the month. Growing up in the countryside, we’d make huge bonfires of dry leaves; the exciting crackle as the golden flames caught the golden leaves was a ritual of the garden as winter approached. In London, it is the not so romantic recycling bag instead but there is still something comforting about the annual cycle of the leaves falling, promising new life next year.
There isn’t a lot else to do in the garden at this time of year. The pruning is done and dead plants cleared away. I’ve planted a few winter bedding plants for a bit of colour and my garlic has gone into the vegetable bed where I still have Brussel Sprouts, parsnips and a swede growing.
Cyclamen provide most of the colour that is around; the delicate petals in all shades of pink and purple and white. My two winter cherries are covered in bright orange berries, and whilst not colourful, the unusual heads of the fatsia japonica add interest at the end of the garden.
I fill the bird feeder with peanuts and clean out the bird box ready for next year. A cheeky robin watches me from a perch so close I can almost touch him. A loud squawking overhead makes me look up and I see a bright green parakeet swoop out of the sycamore! The things you see in London…
The days are short and darkness tempts me back indoors to a cup of tea and another slice of apple cake, something I’ll be making all winter thanks to the crate of apples from my parents’ garden that will last me for months!