Every year round about this time, in common with many other bloggers, I post pictures of autumn colours. Trying to ring the changes, I’ve given the posts various titles, ‘Autumn Cheer’, Autumn Leaves’, 'Autumn Tints’ etc., but basically they are a celebration of this most spectacular season of the year. I don’t get bored setting out and admiring the splendour all over again; after all, this kind of beauty remains inspirational, and repetition does nothing to diminish it. Not as far as I am concerned, anyway.
This is the view from an upstairs window of the cherry tree and the sun-kissed stems of a rowan, with the wooden bridge over the river visible through the trees.
Another perennial favourite is this Virginia creeper on a neighbour’s house which is only just beginning to turn. My own is a little later in the season and burgundy-coloured.
Even the very ordinary and utterly humble ground cover workhorse, the prostrate juniper, useful as weed suppressor and for winter colour, becomes attractive when brown leaves nestle in its folds.
Nothing humble about this spectacular variety of spirea! Golden in spring, it really comes into its own this time of year. I have two bushes growing side by side. When I look out of the window during late afternoon, when the sun streaks into the garden from much lower down on the horizon than it does in high summer, they positively glow. I took this photo after an overnight shower.
Viburnum opulus is another common or garden tree/small shrub (cut it to whichever size you want) which shows its true colours in September. The leaves will turn yellow before they fall and the fire-engine red berries hang in generous clusters; birds gorge on them until none are left.
(btw, although viburnum opulus has been adopted under the name ‘European cranberry in the US,
it is absolutely nothing to do with the fruit)
Two very common wildflowers brighten disturbed verges and open grassland in September.
Pink rosebay willowherb has lost the fluffy seed heads, exposing the bottle brush like flower stems.
Willowherb is such a pest, self-seeding everywhere, but I have to admit that it is really quite spectacular and I am willing to admire its architectural qualities when situated nowhere near my garden.
Another familiar sight in waste places, roadsides and hedgebanks is yellow tansy, with its 'gentleman’s buttons' bundles of flowers. Once upon a time tansy was a culinary herb, French chefs used it when preparing omelettes in much the same way as we use fines herbes today. Our palates have become less sturdy than those of our ancestors, the rather spicy savour is too overwhelming for modern tastes.
I’ll leave you with the wise words of a gardener in charge at Kew Gardens Arboretum. On the news today, he was asked by a reporter if we should get worried about the extremely dry September we have just experienced.
“Oh no”, he said, stretching each word with his flat Yorkshire vowels. “No need to panic. Nature’s great. It’ll all work out in the end.”
He also promised us a very colourful autumn. Bliss.