The crowning and majestic hours of autumn
"Every year, in November, at the season that follows the hour of the dead, the crowning and majestic hours of autumn, I go to visit the chrysanthemums ... They are indeed, the most universal, the most diverse of flowers."- Maeterlinck
And yes, we have some beautiful yellow chrysanthemums flowering in the garden this month. This is at a time when many plants are dying down and being cut back. We also still have fuchsias and geraniums with their last flowers and red berries on shrubs. And of course, plants whose coloured leaves give colour to the garden all year round.
We still have plants round the garden to feed birds. Although we can’t put out bird seed, they still feed off sunflower seeds and berries. And there are some smaller seeds left on flowers as they dry out.
November has brought colder weather with it. The leaves from trees have fallen and been blown to one side of the garden by the strong winds we have been having. The 30th of November is the full moon called the ‘Moon Before Yule’, for obvious reasons. Or ‘Darkest Depths Moon’ probably as the nights are getting longer. So, less gardening time now, but still plenty to do, keeping things tidy and ready for next year.
I started off some garlic in tubs at home. These were from the garlic cloves we grew in the garden earlier this year. I have transplanted these to the garden now to fill some spaces left by the salad stuff. Many of the cabbage and kale plants have gone missing from their containers. I assume that creatures have pulled them up to eat, but hopefully they will leave us some for the winter. One of our other winter veg is our Jerusalem artichokes. I don’t normally harvest these till Jan, but their long leafy stems needed to be cut right back. That way, they can concentrate on growing their potato-like roots. To keep them warm, I put the leafy stems over their soil as a sort of mulch.
The herbs are still being picked. I was surprised to see a tall dill plant in one of the tubs. Surprised, because I hadn’t sown any dill seeds this year. And because I am sure it wasn’t there when I last looked. That’s one of the things about the garden. Its full of little surprises.
The garden table has been dismantled. It has been stored at the side of the garden for now. We are thinking of moving it to behind Bugingham Palace. That is somewhere that the wood can rot down. Many bugs love rotting wood. So they will have a great time. Actually, if anyone reading this is into DIY, Bugingham Palace is in need of refurbishment. A mixture of the wind and weather and people exploring it, has resulted in parts of it coming out or other bits moving. So, if you fancy trying, give it a go. It’s a bit like a puzzle though, getting all the pieces to fit.
There are a few things planned for the garden and the volunteers before Xmas. A distanced decorating session, a zoom party and some secret activities too. So keep an eye out.
Talking of Xmas, I hope you have all made your Xmas puddings now. The 22nd was known as ‘stir up Sunday’ as it was the day puddings should be started. Apparently, the pudding should have exactly 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and his disciples. It should be stirred from east to west to represent the journey of the Magi. Each member of the household should stir it and make a wish and silver charms added to represent different types of luck. A silver coin for wealth, a ring for love and a thimble for luck. I’ve still got my family’s old silver threepenny bit, but it hasn’t worked. So, I had better get started with my ingredients. Guinness, brandy, rum….
The Blooming Old Gardener