Seasons

I’ve spent most of the day in the garden today, harvesting, cutting things back, attending to the overgrown lawn, and musing on the eternal verities. My main thought was the way in which gardening, and particularly growing your own fruit and vegetables, links you to the seasons. This has been the most strange year but actually the seasonal garden rituals have stayed much the same: starting with the dark days of winter, the spring bulbs, the all important spring seed sowing, the fruit blossom, the first vegetable harvest, the early summer peas and soft fruit, and now the first of the ‘mellow fruitfulness’ of autumn (I’m not a great one for poetry but Keats’ Ode to Autumn is one that stuck).

After my last post’s reference to almost ripe plums, the sun has shone for two days and now we are drowning in them. Here’s what I picked today and there are hundreds more left on the tree:

I had to look up my own blog for ideas for what to do with them. Many will just be eaten of course, some will be given away (although that’s a bit tougher this year without colleagues or musicians to force them on to but we’ll find a way) and the rest will be chutneyed, jammed, frozen and turned into cake.

It’s also a time when some crops begin to come to and end and I find myself planning next year’s. The peas are an example. They are still holding out quite bravely but the earliest plantings are getting a bit mildewy and rather snail infested. But now I’m saving the seed – see here – and the late planted Carouby de Mausanne’s have started to flower:

The tomatoes are still very green but they are very beautiful. I’ll leave them outside for another month or so and hopefully some will ripen in that time. Those that don’t will ripen eventually inside. This year I sowed Tigeralla, San Marzano and the giant Costuluto Fiorentino:

Meanwhile an outpost of Reclaiming Paradise has reported that the tomatoes in his student flat are already ripe – must be sunnier than my garden!

While I was wandering round the garden, I spotted a tiny tiny frog – no photo as it was so small I couldn’t capture it but it was about a centimetre long. I also saw a mouse – this was a bit more grisly as it appeared in Bella’s mouth but she dropped it and it ran away into the hedge. High up above the hedge the honeysuckles that I planted two years ago are flowering very beautifully:

Joyful. Also high up in an oak tree, I spotted a bunch of acorns:

I’m particularly pleased by these as this is my millennium oak, planted from an acorn collected by my sons and me in 2000. I read somewhere that they take forty years to produce acorns. Ours has taken only twenty. This tree has lots of memories: that trip to a country park with two tinies to gather acorns twenty years ago, growing our own trees from seeds when they were a little older- read all about that here – growing more acorns thirteen years later and seeing that one had germinated on what would have been my Dad’s eightieth birthday, then planting more of our oak seedlings in 2018 in the north of England in memory of my mother-in-law. These acorns are a reminder that nature doesn’t just give us annual seasons but that it has lessons for the whole of life.

3 thoughts on “Seasons

      1. Mrs T grew some reasonable small saplings from acorns and has planted them out with a neighbour in what they hope will be propitious spots

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