26 September 2016
There's a red oak on the way into Usk from Allt-y-bela whose first few leaves are tentatively beginning to change colour. There's an elder too whose top most leaves, that sit proud of the top of the hedge line, are also turning, and yet the days are still warm. In the middle of the day it's still warm enough to be summer but the darker mornings and mists have arrived heralding the beginning of autumn.
Today (22 September 2016) is the Autumn Equinox and it's the
perfect start to autumn; light overnight rain that has refreshed
the earth has given way to blue skies and a mellow warmth. In the
kitchen garden the nets over the brassicas are jewelled with rain
drops as are the multitude of complex little webs which have been
carefully constructed by industrious spiders. The sweet peas are
still flowering strongly but their moment has long since passed, it
no longer feels right to cut these symbols of summer for the house
and so I'm letting them quietly run to seed now, enjoying their
display in the top corner of the kitchen garden.
Over the past few days I've noticed that our beloved Dahlia 'Naples' has started to look a little stark in the cottage garden, the grey misty days have left them looking very white against the grey green landscape as some of the accompanying flowers have started to recede. Today however they look magnificent in the sunshine, the delicate pinkish tinge of the young flowers adding depth to their display. The asters are emerging now as well, taking over the mantle of those flowers whose glory days have passed, and soon the asters will fully compliment the dahlias lifting the border into one last great display before the cold winter takes them.
The Autumn Equinox is a marker of change in the garden, in the landscape and in the year and it's the change that is so enchanting and beautiful in the garden. Now is a time where you can look forward to the wonders of autumn while revelling in the tail end of summer.
Words: Steve Lannin, Head Gardener at Allt-y-bela
Photographs: Britt Willoughby Dyer