One of my favourite months for being outside, October is that beautiful crossover month where the leaves are turning golden and you can snuggle into your favourite coat, but a little warmth still lingers in the air during the day and the sun shines with a gorgeous golden light.
We’ve had an unusually warm autumn so far, and the garden, which was so late getting started this year, is having a lazy, slow drift away from summer. Flowers that would usually be long gone still linger – bright pink buds on the fuchsia and the odd carnation continue to surprise. We’re having a bumper year for cyclamen too, carpets of the pale purple flowers fill the usually dark corners of the garden.
October is a time for a bit of garden maintenance. Cutting back remaining dead plants and sweeping up the leaves – a task that is endless through the next couple of months! I plant out dormant and bare root plants ready to fill the garden in spring. This year I’m trying some bamboo to screen a crumbling old wall and our neighbour’s garden. For now it is in large pots to see how it takes off, before I plant it on more permanently. I’m also filling in a couple of shadowy areas with a selection of new ferns. I love their soft fronds and the delicate pattern of their leaves.
In the veg patch, I dig up my first parsnip prematurely by mistake, far too small to be of much use, but filling me with anticipation for the rest of them later in the year! Something has decimated my swedes, a sorry stump of chewed stalk and half a leaf is all that is left sadly, but that is nature for you! The Brussel sprouts are still looking good though, and I’ll plant garlic bulbs at the end of the month to mature over the winter.
I survey the tidied garden as the early evening sun sets through the thinning leaves of the trees, lighting up the spiders’ webs that weave across the garden, the industrious creatures never pausing in their tireless work. Unlike them, it is time for me to take a break with a warming cup of tea, enough done for the day!