AUTUMN IN THE GARDEN

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Across France it’s now the two-week autumn school-holiday known as “Vacances de la Toussaint”. So far we have enjoyed fantastic weather with warmish sunny days; ok, not exactly swimming weather, but perfect walking weather, perfect playing-in-the-garden weather and perfect weather for exploring near and far.

The children take a huge interest in this little blog of mine; indeed frequently they are my inspiration and so as we were kicking about in the falling leaves, they asked what I was going to write about this week and that’s when it came to me. “This”, I replied, pointing to our autumnal shrubbery and falling leaves,”a tour of our garden in autumn”,

“But it looks a mess!” they chorused, adding “and it’s not exactly pretty at the moment,” but  that’s when the fun started. I fetched my camera and we wandered around, stopping to take photos, and suddenly what they had taken for granted as red leaves clinging to an old stone wall, took on a new form as they turned russet orange in the afternoon sun.

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The Japanese Anemones are still flowering, self-seeded in places, and with the protection of a north-facing wall they are still  in abundance in many corners of the garden; and the Salvia Grahamii have been in bloom all through the summer and continue to provide colour.

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Roses are once again flowering as they have their last flurry before winter takes its toll, and  the Pampas Grass is looking fabulous. There are tiny hardy Cyclamen all over the place in shady spots, poking their heads up between the fallen leaves.

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The vegetable garden has been dug over and the autumn kale has been planted. The roses down there are a stark contrast to the plainness of the bare earth.  However, the aubergines, peppers and chillies are still going strong and producing as fast as we can eat them.

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Our Persimmon tree is quite literally groaning under the weight of so much fruit, so much so that a huge branch broke off one afternoon with a quite frightening crack and a subsequent thud. This has made us look at seriously pruning it back this winter to a more manageable level. In the meantime we have yet to see if we can get the fruit to ripen enough before it gets too cold, I am told they sell for a pound each in England so we must have at least £200 of fruit! Last year winter came far too quickly for the fruits, and I fear it will be the same again this year.

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We don’t have any apple trees but a friend has plenty and she is constantly providing us with box loads of fruit. Sweet and crunchy they are perfect in cakes, tarts, compotes or just eaten straight from the box.

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The chickens are hard at work enjoying the cooler weather. I was digging up some of last years well rotted leaves as mulch for a new shrub I had planted and they are never far away from my feet, searching for grubs and worms. In turn they are rewarding us with more eggs than we can eat and it’s been a very long time since we saw a tick on the dogs. After a summer fraught with chicken problems we are back to a healthy flock, so our fingers are crossed that Roddy can take off his veterinarian’s coat for a while.

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Fritz the bantam cock has turned very dark, quite suddenly, and Constance, our only Silkie, is quite a madam earning herself any number of nicknames from visitors this summer! Gone are the long lazy days when our flock rested in the shade of a tree for hours on end; now they are on the move from dawn until dusk, constantly scrounging tidbits from anywhere they can get their feet and beaks into. They are very opportunist feeders and we have seen some surprising items disappear into frenzied craws, including half-consumed cat leftovers….. no more details needed..

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It seems as if we have been clearing leaves forever, but in truth we have barely started, many are still green and there are plenty more to come down !

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So it’s just as well we bought ourselves a new leaf collector that is towed along behind the mower, it is certainly making life much easier this year, I won’t have the arm muscles of last autumn but it will be done in a quarter of the time instead and anyway I always have my little helpers!

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25 thoughts on “AUTUMN IN THE GARDEN

  • Autumn is the best time of the year, colors amazing, rustle of downed leaves, clucking poultry and to top it all off, a lovely pic of you and your girls.

  • Oh I enjoyed this walked through your gardens this morning! What a way to start my day – and that gorgeous photo of you 3 girls to make me smile throughout the day.

  • I share your feeling about the leaves. Beautiful but a never ending battle once on the ground. Glad to hear the chickens are doing well. Must be great to have fresh eggs.

    • Hi Mary, how right you are – she was most frequently known as a poodle over the summer by visitors staying, but now you mention llamas, I can see the likeness! She is certainly quite a madam!

  • Autumn is my favorite season! As for the leaves, I feel that if God had wanted them off the ground, He would have left them on the trees!

  • Your garden, your chickens, and you and the girls, look absolutely beautiful! I have never seen such a gorgeous silkie as Constance. And those persimmons, the cyclamen and the Pampas Grass…glorious!! If the persimmons don’t ripen before winter comes, leave them on the tree as Christmas decorations. One of our neighbors used to do that (until he pruned his persimmon tree too hard), and it was beautiful. I understand how you feel about the leaves: our house is in the base of a 270-degree bowl with maple trees on its rim. When I’m working at home, I rush outside and pick or rake up their fallen leaves during my two fifteen-minute breaks each day. That helps keep the paths clear but doesn’t put a dent in the rest of the layers of leaves that fall in the garden. I’d be tempted to leave them there if they weren’t such a perfect breeding ground for slugs. May the rest of your Vacances de la Toussaint be as much fun as they already have been, Leslie

    • Hi Leslie, leaves!!! I have to admit I do look at them differently this year now we have the auto leaf collector, they still have to be hauled into a pile, but at least it gets the all in one place and it’s always fun going around the garden on the tractor, it’s like seeing everything in slow motion but I can’t get distracted and go elsewhere so I notice new things! Funny you should mention the persimmons as Christmas decorations, a friend came round yesterday and said exactly the same thing, only she said bring them into the house and decorate the table with them if they don’t ripen in time, but she said here they don’t eat them until November/December and so I am hopeful we might get to eat some this year! Enjoy the rest of the weekend, it’s a stunning warm autumn day here 🙂

  • This is such a wonderful time of the year… your post makes me love this season even more! Thank you for sharing. PS- LOVE the chickens too! 😉

    • Hi Barbara, thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate every single comment anyone takes the time to write. I do love autumn, although the leaves are a truly never ending task! The chickens are loving it, finally it is so much cooler and they are hard at work finding yummy things to eat in the garden non stop! Enjoy the rest of autumn, very best wishes Susan

  • I love Autumn. It’s been a good one here with early October being warm but now the leaves are well on their way down. It seems the Reds are gone, leaving the yellow-gold leaves to glow in dazzling gold against the occasional inky blue sky – magical. Susan, can I show my ignorance and ask about Persimmons? Not too familiar with them- could you post some info? About the tree- blossom, leaves, fruits – and maybe some recipe ideas? Just a thought. Thank you for sharing your Autumn garden – and your lovely daughters! ( I was going to say ‘girls’ but you might have thought I meant the hens!) – although they are so sweet…!

    • Hi Marian, I am glad England is having a nice autumn too, it always makes winter that little bit shorter. I will certainly write a little more about the Persimmon tree, your comment has made me want to do more research too! But it has given me an idea, thank you, which I will post within the next few weeks! Very best wishes Susan

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