Thursday, 22 November 2012

Sad songs of Autumn mirth

Food for the birds

Putting the garden to bed for the winter is almost complete.
The borders have been tidied, the roses pruned and leaves raked from the lawn. The final garden bin of 2012 is full to overflowing. Tubs are full of winter pansies and primroses and under-planted with the spring promise of miniature daffodils and iris reticulata. 

Michaelmas daisies going over

The final garden task remains – the planting of tulips. I’ve not yet decided whether to plant them directly into the borders or, as friend Avril does, plant them in tubs. Experts recommend digging up tulips after flowering with a view to replanting the following year. I’m too lazy to do this and usually try to plant them quite deeply with the hope that they’ll survive another year.

Digging at the allotment is now complete and the Japanese onion sets have finally been planted. Spring cabbage, Durham Earlies, are surviving – just - hopefully protected from marauding rabbits by protective netting. Fingers crossed! 

Statuesque artichoke flowers at the allotment

The strawberry bed is finally weed-free and I’ve decided to concentrate on growing perennial flowers, rather than vegetables, in an area which is permanently dry - being affected by roots of the nearby ash tree - beginning with a white form of echinacea, courtesy of fellow allotmenteer, Chris.

Everyone agrees that this has been a dreadful year for growing and will result in substantial rises in the costs of vegetables in the shops. 

Make a New Year Resolution to grow your own next year!

Today I think
Autumn colour of quince leaves
Only with scents – scents dead leaves yield,
And bracken, and wild carrot’s seed,
And the square mustard field;

Odours that rise
When the spade wounds the root of trees,
Rose, currant, raspberry, or goutweed,
Rhubarb or celery;

The smoke’s smell too,
Flowing from where a bonfire burns
The dead, the waste, the dangerous,
And all to sweetness turns.

It is enough
To smell, to crumble the dark earth,
While the robin sings over again
Sad songs of Autumn mirth.

                                     Edward Thomas


  1. Beautiful photos and poem - lets hope for a better growing year in 2013 - you'll be pleased to know I've planted my tulip pots.

  2. I love your pictures, lovely words and the exquisite and entirely appropriate E Thomas poem. I also love to see Pablo poking his paw into things. I am sure he makes a good research assistant. wx