Goodbye, Summer; Hello, Autumn!

Our garden expert, Phil McCann, is feeling reflective as we begin the transition between the seasons. Here he explores how he feels as the seasons turn, what he will miss and what he is looking forward to. How are you feeling about the onset of autumn?

Goodbye, Summer

Sunflowers and sunshine in summerYep, summer was a fantastic one with ice cream sales going through the roof, watering cans becoming the must-have accessory and my aching joints eased by the warm temperatures.

Hello, Autumn

bright autumn leaves

But now, early September, the nights are beginning to draw in, the mornings are without question darker and the blue of the sky is lighter, watery and dilute. Autumn is knocking at the door.

Getting Good at Goodbyes

Now, I used to be a bit sad at this time of year. I’m never one for the big goodbyes and saying adios to summer was always a particularly tearful au revoir. But at last, after years of searching for an answer, I’ve realised that I can’t do anything about it! Of course, you’ve known this forever but I’m a slow learner.

Summers will come and go. Whatever I do, whatever face I pull when the alarm goes off at 5.00am and it’s dark and however many arguments I initiate about not putting the heating on, summer will fizzle and extinguish itself.

Autumn will come. It cannot be stopped. And this year, after the spectacular summer, who knows what kind of show we will have. Perhaps not the colours seen in Virginia and Boston every year, but a show nonetheless – a show, I am already beginning to enjoy the build up to.

Virginia in the autumnBoston in autumn

Summer was superb but, but… OK, I’ll admit it - tiring! How many gallons of extra water have I poured onto the celery to ensure a few crunchy sticks of devil’s food for the rest of the family? How many litres of aqua have been dispensed onto the soil to ensure a decent display of dahlias? Hundreds I reckon.

But now, it is all calming down. I am enjoying the fruits of my labour. Lettuce every evening, carrots by the trug load and French beans. Oh, the French beans.

watering celeryDahliasCelery in a celery collarFrench beans
But I deserve, we all do, a long slow fond farewell to summer ‘18 and a friendly ‘aye up duck’ (as they say in these parts!) as autumn dares to poke its uncertain head above the parapet. Life doesn’t have to be one mad rush to get somewhere, anywhere, for a quick look around and then off into the next must visit place. I now realise we all have to enjoy the journey as well as the destination. And gardening is a perfect vehicle for that journey.

Ready to Move On

harvested potatoesSo, the journey from summer into autumn is going to be a good one. Sure, the flower displays will reduce in intensity, quantity and variety but hey, check out the subtle changes, already happening, by many of the stars of the autumn show. I’ll take great joy from storing potatoes, hunter gather style, to support the tribe over winter. Same with the dangerous parsnips and scary carrots (don't get me going about that again - I am now fully recovered).

conkersYes, we are in a time of transition but a necessary one, a joyful and glorious period and it does give me chance to wash my hat and scarf in readiness for memorable family days out trampling on crunchy leaves, collecting conkers and planning the garden.

But the heating won’t go on until well in December. That's a fact!