22 Aug 2013

Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

Bruce Langridge

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I walked around the National Botanic Garden and felt the rustle of spring in the air.  After the extreme heat of the summer I walked around yesterday and felt the stirrings of autumn.  Our journey to the Garden takes us along the M4 and already some of the trees are starting to change colour from green to brown.  I know we like to think we are still in summer – after all we haven’t had August Bank Holiday yet – but the blackbirds have already eaten most of the berries on our sorbus at home.  I spent most of the day in the office on Tuesday but went out late in the afternoon to replenish leaflets in various places and was struck by all the autumn colours that were around.

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The Garden still looks lovely but I know that a lot of deadheading is going on and many of the plants have that full blown, blousy look.   Coreopsis, echinacea, gaillardia and rudbeckia fill the beds but the butterflies are still enjoying the buddleja.  Over the summer we have been struck by how many bees there have been on the lavender bushes in the Boulder Garden where we usually eat our lunch.   Not only were they there in great numbers but we were surprised at the variety of sizes and colours of them.   We wondered how many of them actually live in the Bee Garden and how many are just visitors.  Wherever they come from it’s great to see them going about their business.

The sparrows seemed disappointed that the Rill wasn’t working and were sitting in amongst the berries on the viburnum alongside the Broadwalk.  No doubt the easy pickings more than compensate for the lack of a bath in running water.  We walked towards Waun Las and were pleased to see some goldfinches amongst the thistledown, the swallows doing their acrobatic flying displays and a pair of buzzards soaring high above us.

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We came back to the car through the Wallace Garden where the display of colour is superb.  Just inside the archway a planting of Mirabilis jalapa is just coming into bloom and the colours are just stunning.  The dahlias are also lovely and always remind me of my Granddad who grew them on his allotment even though my Gran declared them to be “full of earwigs”.  There was also a little flavour of the old harvest festivals I remember from school with a display of marrows in boxes, another reminder of the passing of time.  Back in the car park the horse chestnut tree I remember reporting last year as being without conkers is laden with the bright green prickly fruit.  Look out if you park your car beneath it.

September is my favourite month, I love its mellow softness and, personally, I don’t mind the approach of autumn, I don’t look with dread at the prospect  putting the clocks back, but perhaps that’s because I’m a glass half full type of person!.

Pam Murden