On an Autumn Day

But it was not on Raglan Road with Patrick Kavanagh but at home on our own patch taking advantage of a clear spell after what has been a stormy, wet and windy week. On such occasions, when fortunate as we were this week, there is the relief when there is no serious damage done to plants; no trees down or damaged; no plants lost. After that initial assessment and relief, everything else is a bonus and, as we are coming to the end of this gardening season, it is well to seek out and enjoy whatever is looking good at this moment.

Apple windfalls
Windfall apples, quickly made into Apple Cobbler for dessert!

Windfalls were a priority and a good amount of the apples made a delicious apple cobbler for dessert; the quince was stored so that they might ripen a little more before being made into Dulce de Membrillo – a recipe sent by a friend in Chile recently. The quince (Cydonia oblonga) doesn’t crop reliably here but this hot summer brought a bumper harvest.

Quince windfalls
Windfall quince – Cydonia oblonga – will be left to ripen a little more before being cooked.

Chestnuts were another windfall, a reminder of childhood days, games of conkers, putting the most promising chestnuts by the fire, up the chimney, in the cool oven of the range to dry and harden and produce a chestnut hard as stone sure to break those of all our friends. And also, the memories of some of those same friends, with poor judgement or a certain cuteness, rapping my knuckles and putting the rest of my conker ambitions at a disadvantage. Games and gamesmanship!

Chestnuts (3)
Chestnuts – a delight for children and good memories for adults.

Colchicums are the flower of the moment, one of those “naked ladies” plants, having flowers without foliage – this will follow in spring. I saw the first nerine in flower also and these will follow on from the colchicums, both good for displays at this time of year. Sternbergia lutea is a plant which flowers in a similar manner, blooms without foliage. It is one I grow in a pot in the glasshouse as summer conditions in our garden are too damp and not hot enough, though this year might have been an exception. After several months left bone dry and in the hottest and sunniest spot in the glasshouse I watered it about a fortnight ago and had flowers eight days later – nature is really quite extraordinary.

Colchicum autumnale (6)
Colchicum autumnale, a wonderful autumn flower though wind and rain generally flattens them.
Sternbergia lutea
Sternbegia lutea in the glasshouse

Of course, there are other things – Cyclamen hederifolium are a delight at the moment; crabapples are giving their autumn fruit display, asters are looking great; yuccas are spectacular after the hot summer – oh, there is always something to enjoy in a garden!


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6 thoughts on “On an Autumn Day

  1. I love, and so agree with you, that you say there is always something to enjoy in a garden! So true, especially for those who see beauty in the little things. Glad to hear you escaped the brunt of the storm this week. We were also quite lucky, just loads of apples “picked” for us! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Enjoyed this article Paddy especially piece with your reminiscences on the chestnuts ( conkers) boy do I remember that, memories of simpler times, without mobile phones or modern technology to interrupt us!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love Chestnuts especially when they are just out of their covers and are very shiny. Picked about 12 from our own tree this year. It is 23 years old and this is the first time it has conkers. They are supposed to keep moths away.

    Liked by 1 person

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