the end of autumn
There is a much more relaxed vibe at the Flower Garden at this time of year, now that our last posy has been picked and all we have to do is make sure that the garden is as beautiful and as productive as possible for next year. Wintry weather can make November tasks a bit of a slog, but on bright sunny days the work is a dream. During this last week the team have been dividing and reorganising perennials, to make the garden more cohesive and picking easier next year, and to make the most of one of the benefits of an establishing garden: naturally multiplying plants. We have also planted thousands of allium and tulips bulbs, with the remainder of the bulbs to be planted this week. It is so exciting to push these little dry brown knobbles into the cold wet soil in the anticipation of luscious flowers springing forth there in four months' time. Maybe it's because we've all slowed right down, but I'm noticing the effects of light playing across the garden even more now than in the summer. Shadows are long, and changes in the sky - sun, rain, cloud cover - make the garden below look as dramatic as a stage set. Textures change too: slippery brick paths and boggy soggy grassy places where the dog changes direction when he's running full speed after pheasants; the smooth bare wood of the old doors and the soft velvet moss creeping across damp stones. Birds sing and swoop overhead, but in the garden the creatures are heading deep into the earth.