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November Postcard

British Summer Time may have ended but November opened into bright sunshine; wreathed around with golden tones.

First frosts have intensified Autumn colours from vivid orange, red, yellow, purple, burnished bronze and copper hue. Late flowers illuminate the garden in glowing petals. Last sweet peas cling to the weathered trellis, faintly perfumed now, energy spent in final perfect petals, soft pink, white, deep purples and red…

Chocolate cosmos, nasturtiums in warm colour, palest petite poppies, final flourish before winters sleep…

 

Sunflowers, wind-worn; food for late Autumn visitors and Winter survivors. Beech and birch trees wear coats of deepening autumn shades, scattering the trembling leaves across the garden, reminiscent of a 70’s ‘Windsor’ carpet.

Shortened days, still rich in light over sea and land, causing the observer to pause and cherish each blessed moment.

Reflection pool

Autumn, time of reflection as day gives way to night, Autumn to Winter, warmth to cold. Times of transition, resetting, contemplation and rest.

November gifts

November gifts, a gathering in of late fruits and flowers. Warm nights gathered by the fire, soup and bread shared with friends. Candlelight and lamp light, starlight and moonlight. Mittens and scarves, warm boots and heavy coats. November; Winters gatekeeper, but for now, open up your eyes and heart to her harvest…

~

(Postcard; Lena Anderson, author and illustrator Sweden)

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That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away…
William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
Sonnet 73

We may be surrounded by trees, but nothing gives greater pleasure than a walk at Culzean (pronounced Cullane) Country Park. It was busy with many visitors causing my OH to remark that in the past we could have walked around the park and met very few people. Many of the great beeches that lined the roads have been felled to make way for new plantings as the estate continues to make improvement. We always head off into the woods, hoping to stumble upon the ‘Cat Gates’ and the beech avenue. We found them devoid of ivy and looking every bit as regal as usual, the scrubby undergrowth cleared from the surroundings but somehow losing something of their charm also.

October, flutters away with the falling leaves as November carpets the ground in a riot of autumn colours; the fungi wreath decaying branches. Fairy rings inscribed in the mossy ground. Curious Goldfinch settle on the nearby tree to observe the humans encroaching on their territory. Blackbird startles, the coal tits and chaffinch forage at the leaf axils for insects. A whistle calls a roving dog to heel and from the woods peels of laughter ring through the trees; a family enjoying the woodlands. Seems everyone is out enjoying a walk in the woods, watching the colours change and fall before winter consumes all…

Thanks for stopping by today – enjoy the changing season and a new month!

Patience...

Silently watching

each twitching, trembling blade

the hunter waits 

~

Our friend had a birthday, a round birthday and being young at heart (and fit), invited a convivial group of people for a gentle hike around Loch Trool . Last time we visited the area was to celebrate his wife’s round birthday, also in October. As we neared the park a light rain began to fall, having driven down in sunshine that seemed just a little unreasonable. But the grey, gun-metal skies were brightened by the fattest, most colourful rainbow I have ever seen.

Gathering in the car park the sun reappeared as we set off in high spirits. October has been dry so the going was good. Birch leaves golden in the afternoon sun, berried bushes shone like jewels. Blackberries asking to be eaten, fat and heavy on the twisted canes. Gradually the groups dispersed as those who like to get round as quickly as the could rushed ahead. For the rest we strolled, taking in the scenery, conversing, stooping to look at bright orange fungi, lush green mosses, stands of pine and mighty oaks. Battles were fought here, (Outlander probably filmed here), countless feet have passed this way. And you really do have to pause to drink in the scenery as the loch stretches in front.

Not a taxing walk, (“my mum could do it” quips my friend), yes, until you get to that last hill before the car park; when the promise of food is so near and yet that hill is so steep – even if it is tarmac by this time! 🙂 “What took you so long?” queries my walking companion’s husband. We look stunned, when did he pass us? Last seen entering the bushes – yes, they are all of that age… So while we had walked and waited and worried, he had passed us miles back. “Men” we both mutter under our breath. Every one back, boots changed and off to the House O Hill  for a birthday feast. What a feast –  Happy Birthday Ian!

How do you like to celebrate significant birthdays?

 

 

Solitary dragonfly sails across the garden

briefly pausing, scans his territory;

while the old, weathered table serves up 

a glimmer of dragons

waiting to fly.

~

(In recent days a lone, large dragonfly has droned across the garden completely alone. Yesterdays warm, still afternoon served up six smaller dragons resting on the garden furniture. Quietly posing for photos before climbing on my hand for close scrutiny!)

Rediscover child-like wonder in  a garden!

Full Circle

A steady rain has fallen since late morning in spite of the promised early sunshine. On days like this you learn to move between inside and outside work as the weather predicts. (That may mean achieving very little!) It has not been a particularly good summer so the need of a large greenhouse seems imperative.

The weedy cardoons have been lifted and potted up, a new planting place will be needed in Spring. Sweet peas have succumbed to the attentions of greenfly and the birds seem quite indifferent to this feast of food. But the first cosmos have blossomed and tiny nasturtiums brighten the dying flower beds. Bulbs have been ordered but the whole garden is in need of a revamp and re-planned, as some plants have taken over and others struggle where they’re planted 😦

Apples harvested, the untidy knot of wild flowers removed along with the perennial weeds that have invaded the orchard; Bruce’s memorial uncovered and spring bulbs planted. Seed-heads gathered, seeds cleaned and packaged ready for the new season…

Composters overflowing with spent plants as the gardens are cleared and tidied. Small potted plants placed in the mini-greenhouse, sheltered from the worst of the cold wind and rain that is the staple of winter on Scotland’s west coast…

Green manures sown in the freshly prepared beds, already sprouting after only a few days in the ground. Having uncovered and pruned the Japanese quince there are plenty of fruits this year, and rose hips need gathered to make Syrup for the long, dark winter months…

Sunbathing in late sunshine

Esme makes the most of the sun if it shines. The chicken’s day is punctuated with foraging, sunbathing, begging and pest control – sadly never had any eggs since the traumatic fox visit last year…

Looks like the rain has stopped – too late to garden?

Thanks for stopping by today!