Sunday, 17 October 2010


I believe that I may have mentioned before that I love the autumn. I'm always slightly disappointed when, following a rainy summer, the predominant colours are browns and yellows. Although these can be beautiful too in the right light, on a drippy day at the end of October, they're really pretty uninspiring! For that reason, I've been taking pictures at every opportunity of any other colours that grace the garden (and the kitchen - it's cheating, but as I say, it's been a bad year!)

My favourite autumn colours are the reds - from fiery to deep - which make such a marked contrast to the yellows, browns and fast disappearing greens. The old adage that 'red and green should ne'er been seen unless there's something in between' just doesn't stand up in nature. Think about a tomato vine nestled amongst the plants' greenery, or, for a more seasonal take, to the glory of a holly tree in full winter regalia.

The last of the tomatoes in the greenhouse

In some lights, the ivy trailing over our fence is almost purple.

And here it is picked out with a rime of frost

Another interesting fact we hadn't been aware of - our red grape variety had leaves which turned red, whilst our white grape variety had leaves which turned yellow!

In the kitchen I've been converting our own raspberries and the glut of uneaten plums from our veg box into wonderful ruby-red jellies. Last week, I also picked the last of our tomatoes and chillies and I'm now enjoying their slow transformation to ripeness in a bowl sat in the intermittent sun.

This is actually a raspberry and apple jelly, made a few weeks ago, but it has the same gorgeous glow.

Ripening tomatoes and chillies

This year I've also discovered the attractiveness of the colours of our winter veg bed. Now that all the other beds are empty but for a fuzz of recently planted green manure, covered over with enviromesh to keep out the cats, the squirrels and the ash keys (we must have pulled up more than a hundred ash seedlings last year), the brassicas are really coming into their own. Our apple trees at the end of the pergola are almost bare now, and it's possible to see through them to these serried ranks of beds topped with white arches, flanked by a beautiful blue-green sea of kale, cabbages, brussels and purple sprouting.

A head of purple sprouting in the frost

And our first ever mini brussels just starting to appear

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