You know it’s been a wet October when toadstools start appearing in the paving cracks.
Normally the habitat of drought-loving seedlings, it feels as though every nook and cranny is filled to the brim with water right now.
I’ve never seen the stream running as fast, as deep or as wide as it is now; it’s almost a respectable mass of water in parts!
And a magical fairyland has popped up across the garden.
Autumn has come early this year, with the leaves colouring and beginning their descent a couple of weeks ahead of time. It’s now that I really appreciate the incredible, stately, mature trees we have; they all pop into focus as the lower tier of plants fade away.
They all seem so big all of a sudden; each outline highlighted as it turns a different shade to the one next door.
I love our rainbow trees on our driveway.
And why is it that only in autumn do I notice the canopy in the woodland?
We’re slowly adding a few trees each year, to ensure there is renewal. It’s such fun to watch them grow and develop, but the speed of change doesn’t half make you realise how precious the oldest ones are.
We’re putting mostly natives in – oak, beech, field maple, holly and hawthorn. It’s not really a conscious decision, but the more I garden the more I’m drawn towards nature. Hard to argue that an enormous oak or beech tree in an English garden isn’t entirely goose pimple-inducing.
Even the understorey is full of autumn tints at the moment. The nasturtiums that looked so vibrant in spring have gained a sense of aged grandeur.
And the garden is full to bursting with berries; of every size, shape and colour. You’d think there was so much to offer herbivores right now, that my favourite plants would be all safe and sound.
But of course we still have our naughty deer. We’ve been keeping an eye on them with the infrared camera and delighting to see them on the far side of the new orchard fence.
Apart from when they’re not.
The day after we caught them on camera, I nonchalantly wandered into the orchard, in my usual gardening state, away with fairies in my own little world. Apart from when I’m not in my own little world.
I suddenly realised there were three deer standing stock-still, staring at me. It was Dad and the twinnies.
I’ve never seen them quite so still. All of them with their best naughty faces. I’m convinced they knew they weren’t supposed to be there.
The littlies could obviously sense the fear in Dad. They started running around, wondering if they could jump through gaps that weren’t really there. Hopping up and down in front of the side gate, looking at the 10cm space between the metal and the climbing (falling?) rose. Glancing across at Dad, then me, then back to the gate again.
Trouble is, force your way through one tiny break in the armoured defence and it’s quite hard to force your way out again. And I’m half smiling, half pleased to see them, half (OK, I know there are no halves left) admiring their sense of adventure and persistence and half being really quite cross that fun Dad would be so irresponsible like this (Paul’s sure he’ll have been in real trouble with boring Mum if the kids let on).
So, having enjoyed seeing them, noted that they’ve shown guilt, fear and remorse, I decide that really it’s best if I move out of the way so they feel they can safely escape. As soon as the line of sight was clear, they shot off as fast as their legs would carry them. One of the poor twinnies being left behind for a few long seconds; a little hesitant of high-jumping quite that high.
I hoped we’d had just the right level of fear without trauma. Setting the bar quite high for them to return over the fence, but not putting them off the rest of the garden. Or perhaps I’m reading a bit too much into my deer-training techniques? Do you think?
Meanwhile, I’ve been planting, planting, planting. Am I allowed to admit I’m a bit over planting for the time? I’ve put more than 200 new pots of life into the ground this month and that’s before you count up the number of plants I had to move to plant them, and the plants to move to plant those and… You know how it is.
As the wind rushes around and the rain hits the window panes, we read this morning that we might be in line for another lockdown this week. Our November trip to see family and friends in Australia has potentially morphed into a month of no social contact at all.
Given the length of our winters, I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t somewhat confronting to be faced with this early on.
But snap out of it, Janna. A whole month at home, kicking golden leaves around the garden and dreaming up new ideas, really isn’t so bad for me.
Hopefully we’ll have a few brighter days and Daryl will come out to play and I’ll be lucky enough to lose myself in the marvels of nature and my own little world, many more times over.
We’ll see where it all takes us…