Old Clothes!

Acer palmatum ‘Koto-no-ito’ (Golden Old Harp) was at its autumnal best today and caught my eye. At this time of the year especially it is necessary to capture the moment immediately for it may well be gone tomorrow or even later in the day; the light changes so quickly that the moment can vanish in a blink and the weather is so changeable that the beautiful display of foliage I admire today may be ground litter tomorrow. So, the camera was taken out and the picture captured – and a few others followed, as happens.

Acer palmatum 'Koto no ito' in Olivia's Bed (1)
Acer palmatum ‘Koto-no-ito’ looking splendid today in a small bed in the garden which we call “Olivia’s Bed” because we made it and planted the maple at the time our eldest grandchild was born – eight years ago now.
Acer palmatum 'Koto no ito' in Olivia's Bed (2)
The very slender foliage of Acer palmatum ‘Koto-no-ito’

Autumn is a season of two changes – summer foliage turns to its autumnal colours and, then quite quickly, it is gone. We generally welcome the first change and bemoan the second. There is a sadness at this loss.

Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Parrotia persice (1)
Also looking well in autumn colour today was Parrotia persica, Ironwood
Parrotia persice (2)
Parrotia persica shows a wonderful changing of colours.

I imaginatively linked the loss of leaves – the clothing of the trees – with a recent small event in my life to which I had an unexpected and surprising reaction. To pass the time during the days of dreadful weather Mary decided to do a bit of a clean out of the wardrobe in our bedroom. When she had finished her side, she cajoled me into dealing with my clothes. I am inclined to hold on to old clothes, moving them down the hierarchy of standing from “fit to appear in public” to “fine for around the house” to “grand for the garden” and I am slow to progress them along this downward loss of status so the wardrobe had many items well gone beyond their best.

Mary’s reasoning and common-sense could not be denied and many things made their way not to the lower clothing classes, already well populated, but directly to the rubbish bin. It upset me! It really and truly upset me. I felt there had been an invasion of my life, an intrusion; that it had been a violation. My mind ran to those television programmes where hoarders resist the clearing and cleaning of their homes and I felt a deep sympathy for and empathy with them.

I wonder if the trees have similar feelings?


Also in the garden today:

Carpinus betulifolius Hornbeam
Carpinus betulifolius, hornbeam – pretty now but they do drop an enormous quantity of leaves which I will have to gather!
Fraxinus excelsior 'Jaspidea'
Fraxinus excelsior ‘Jaspidea’, a golden ash.
Acer negundo 'Kelly's Gold'
Acer negundo ‘Kelly’s Gold’, a golden boxelder maple
Betula utilis 'Jacquemondii'
Betula utilis ‘Jacquemondii’ , Himalayan Birch – now is the time for its white bark so I must get out and wash it clean!
The Lane Acer Senkaki Corylopsis pauciflora
The Lane featuring Acer ‘Senkaki’ nearer the gate and Corylopsis pauciflora nearer the camera.



17 thoughts on “Old Clothes!

  1. No paddy. I think trees have that zen like ability to accept the inevitable with grace. Think of those old clothes as aa shedding of skins and emerge sleek and glistening to a new life. Oh and thank Mary!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Poor Paddy! The attachment we have to comfortable clothes makes these decisions so difficult! I once had a favourite red lined fleece jacket that I really loved but sadly I got paint on the sleeve! I am still looking for a replacement ….but at least the trees will grow an even better coat next year!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Paddy,

    Your garden is something of an arboretum with so many fine specimens on display. I particularly like the little ‘koto-no-ito’ clothed in that radiant shade of autumn.

    I have many items of clothing that I am still wearing 30 years on. I am obviously no follower of fad or fashion, and am not sartorially observant, but I believe if a garment is made of good quality natural fibers, with the correct care, it will last a lifetime. I have woolen sweaters from the west of Ireland & Donegal tweed jackets still doing the rounds in their 3rd decade!

    I lament the current trend for cheap, disposal fashion. With so much buzz around concern for the environment & carbon footprints you would think we would see more returning to the ‘make do and mend’ philosophy of previous generations.

    Liked by 1 person

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