When's autumn, exactly? I don't think I have a mid-autumn in my garden, nor an early and late version, but I do know when my personal autumn has arrived properly. In my gardening life there are seven key indicators.
I know it's autumn when:
1. Ignored for months, I now take lots of photographs of the big Golden Elm tree over the Frisbee Lawn. It looks gorgeous at other times of the year, but the Frisbee Lawn tends to go brown in summer. Brown lanws? Not in my pictures, thanks.
1. Pictures of the Golden Elm
2. The Cercis Forest Pansy leaves redden and start to fall. Quick - mustn't miss them, this tree is a quick-change artist (its blossom is equally ephemeral). I'm developing the garden by the Cercis tree to include a small brick path and courtyard, so next autumn I'll have some lovely colour echoes...
2. The Cercis Forest Pansy
3. The cats chair-snooze all throught the day and bed-sleep all through the night, even Minimus in Pond Cottage. Lucky mice! Lucky cats, having such a warm, cosy house to share with such accommodating, nice cat-people.
3. Cats Chair-Snoozing
4. Out come my merino gardening thermals, and my flowing white cotton apres-gardening shirts are wistfully hung back in the wardrobe for another year. A favourite woolly jersey is nominated and worn inside all the time. My blue and black check woollen swandri lives in my green wheelbarrow.
5. We have our first 'almost-frost' and I start thinking about my half-hardy pelargoniums. I should get better prepared for frosts this year. And clean up the glass-house? And will the Aeoniums survive, sulk, or succumb if I leave them on the patio?
4. 5. and 6. Swandri, Pelargoniums, Bonfire
6. There's no wind! Yippee! The air is calm and still. And just a tiny bit smoky - there's no reason not to be working hard at my autumn bonfire. After trimming and clearing I can burn all the dead and dry bits. No complaining about getting smoke in my hair either.
7. Garden colours are sparser but deeper in hue. The lawns go green, the roses are richly dark, and the Phormiums are properly colourful again. The sky, when it's blue, looks oh so blue, and I can take half-decent photographs on a sunny day.
7. Garden Colours
I wonder what your personal autumn indicators are?