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Today, Saturday, and the sun is defiant despite the fresh breeze swirling around the glistening leaves in my garden. The movement in the garden has stopped. Fruit has reached its final plump state, the flowers have retreated and only the rich dark leaves remain.
It signals a change. Time to bring the harvest indoors.
Often autumn is a season of reflection, where the back door only opens when the colours beckon. The reds and oranges of the harvest, the sunsets, the crops and the final weeks of the pumpkin.
It’s only my second year gardening. In my first year I started in May and hardly had time to draw breath as I worked from scratch to understand the myriad of rules set out by nature. This year I had time. Working quietly at first, I carefully planned my planting, feeding and soil care. Spring was good to me. It was patient, giving me time and space, allowing me to see the impact of my work – Seedlings gradually reaching for air and light, neatly lined up in response to my encouragement.
But then bang, before you know it you’re in May. The slugs are out, the weeds in charge, turn your back and the landscape changes. A fight to keep control. And when you lose control there is no recovery, not this year. Forget to water and plants wither, forget to plant and there’s no succession. And as things spiral, your early Spring hope fades and you have to accept the reality that you can’t always get what you want.
Until Autumn comes and you say, actually despite everything that life threw at me this year I was still out there. I discovered fresh peas, nurtured blackcurrants, rejuvenated the apple tree and cook my own garlic. My raspberries went wild, broad beans kept on giving and for every morning I overslept I had a morning watching the bumble bee going about its business as I drew breath in the morning sun.
There will be plenty to keep me ticking over until spring, but until then it’s time to embrace the warmth of autumn, my new favourite season.