The Changing Seasons: This Was October


Until today’s storm and bluster ‘the garden over the fence’, aka the guerrilla garden was still doing its stuff on the floral front. The rosy crab apples have of course been stealing the show, followed by the Michaelmas daisies (white, mauve and purple), Anne Thomson geranium (heliotrope) and a scatter of late lemony Silver Queen helianthus. Now all looks blown away, though a few pink cosmos behind the old privies are hanging on.


Beyond the garden, out in the field, all has been ploughed, and already the new crop, winter wheat again by the look of it, has started to sprout. In fact all around the town the hillside fields are a haze of new growth while the hedgerow trees and woody margins turn to old gold. But then much like last autumn we have had far too much rain, which in turn means us Wenlockians take to country paths at our peril – slithering in Silurian clag that threatens a serious upending at every step. The following photos, then, reflect only the surprise sunny intervals.


Up at the allotment it’s now the season of gathering in and tidying, mulching and compost turning. This year many garden crops did not thrive as expected. I have no explanation for this, except we did have several weeks without rain in the spring and hand watering never quite makes up for it. But then this has been the pattern for several years now, and I had taken precautions with plenty of mulching.  After the brief hot spell in May the summer was generally lacklustre, often cool and windy, and light levels low.

And this in turn has me wondering that there is more to weather than CO2, on which of course all our plant life, and therefore us, wholly depend for existence. Something’s up with the sun. It seems to be having a quiet phase. We’ve also apparently had an El Nino event out in the Pacific, which usually makes for cold-wet La Nina after-effects. And then the earth’s magnetic field is having a wander across the hemispheres; the jet stream has been meandering all over the place, and lots of geothermal goings on have been happening under the ocean beds at the poles.

All of which is to say the time is clearly out of joint (all ends up), and this an over elaborate excuse for failed sweet corn, rubbish broad beans and a disappointing runner bean crop.

Anyway, failures apart, there is still much to pick – leeks, greens, carrots, beetroot, parsnips outside; salad stuff and a few tomatoes in the polytunnel; lots of apples on communal trees. On my cleared beds the green manure crops are growing well and there are still bumble bees in the flowering phacelia. I’ve broken into last autumn’s stash of fallen leaves and found some brilliant well-rotted leaf mould for mulching the raspberries. And I’ve sown over-wintering field (fava) beans for next year’s early summer picking, and they’re already sprouting. And that’s the great thing about gardening – the onward cycle of growing and nurturing, the continuous big ‘do-over’.


The Changing Seasons: October 2020

58 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons: This Was October

  1. All of which probably explains why we had the driest summer on record and yesterday, the most snow to ever fall in October — six inches. I hope it doesn’t promise worse for the winter. Usually these early storms (which we have very rarely) don’t mean anything, but these day, who knows? We didn’t have a garden this year and water was so scarce, there was no point in watering it — and anyway, garden and lawn watering was illegal from July. I think it still isn’t legal, though it seems that the dam has finally let go.

    Beautiful pictures. I love October, usually, but this year has been not so great. Major resurgence of COVID. One of my best and oldest friends died last night … and half a dozen others are sick with something lethal. This has been such a terrible year.

  2. Such beautiful images of early autumn Tish. The Linden walk again changing with the season. An interesting explanation of the tumultuous weather patterns, it certainly is in upheaval and as gardeners we see it at root level so to speak. We have a La Niña weather pattern in our area with a wet summer, floods wind and hail. All of which we experienced in the past week. Son had hail stones the size of cricket balls through his verandah roof…

  3. Verdant & lush post, Tish.
    Reading the section on your allotment, I am once again reminded that plants have a will of their own – you can do everything as best you can, and they may choose to be contrary.

  4. We had snow this week. It actually showed for two days and the temps dropped into the teens (degrees Farenheit). The winds howled too. Lost my figs and the grape vines, though all grapes have been harvested, are now bare of leaves as well. I’ve got some work to do now.
    Stay warm, Tish.

    1. I’d read there’d been some unexpected icy blasts in your neck of the woods, Thom. What a shame about the figs and vines. You keep warm too. Sounds as if you need some Arctic gear.

  5. Such beautiful images of early autumn Tish. The Linden walk again changing with the seasons. That is an interesting explanation of the tumultuous weather patterns. It certainly is in upheaval and, as gardeners, we see it at root level so to speak. We have a La Nina weather pattern affecting us this season, with predictions of a wet summer, floods, wind, hail. All of which we have experienced in the past week. Our son had hailstones the size of cricket balls that smashed through the roof of his verandah. I’ve just read about your upcoming month of lock down. Oh dear Tish my heart bleeds for the UK. Stay safe my gardening buddy

    1. Hailstones the size of cricket balls, heavens to Betsy! That sounds an awful lot of La Nina weather havoc. Thank you for your kind thoughts re lockdown. It’s not so bad for us more rural folks with open spaces and gardens. Our nearest large town has had one death from/with covid since June!

  6. The guerilla garden is quite festive in autumn happiness, Tish, and the allotment looks wonderful too despite its setbacks this year.

    Seems I spoke too soon about your prospects for November. I understand your PM has finally made a call to restrict social interaction. I guess that is all for the best in the short term. I see that you can leave your house for food so I guess you can still spend time gathering the last of the autumn produce from the allotment, while your planting for next spring can continue to do their thing? Sounds like it is going to be a cold winter.

    The weather is certainly unstable at the moment. My husband who trained as a geologist and is a space junkie tells me that changes to the magnetic field have the potential to disable our electronic infrastructure through knocking out satellites and communication networks, rather than it affecting our weather. He always mentions this when they start talking risk management at work, but his team just blank him. He works in the Education Department. Here is an article in The Conversation – Gee, I hope they’ve got that right …. Anyway, the potential risks are significant for our modern way of life.
    Take care, Tish.

    1. V. interesting about the magnetic field, Tracy. I think I was first aware of its wanderings during my prehistory degree course years ago – when an ancient Aboriginal hearth was mentioned in one of our lectures – how evidence of a magnetic field reversal was baked in the clay of the hearth. I remember thinking how amazing that was. As to lockdown, thank you for your kind thoughts. It’s not at all clear why it’s being imposed – mostly on the basis of mathematical modelling it seems, whose conclusions are much objected to by evidence-based medics and epidemiologists who think very many of us have already had the virus or have existent immunity from past corona virus infections.

      1. We are overdue for one so perhaps it might happen in our lifetime.
        We have had a higher rate of infection in visitors returning to Australia from several countries, including the UK, so perhaps they are being cautious.

  7. what a spray of vibrant colors of your header photo, Tish! the rainbow is magical! thanks for the autumnal gallery. truly a feast for the eyes! 🙂 🙂

  8. A veritable cornucopia!
    (Yours is one of the few blogs I can write such words!)

    We’ve had a few days of excellent rain and I harvested a few onions yesterday that looked okay.
    The garlic is tiddly. 😦
    First crop of spuds in a week or two. Fingers crossed and all that!
    I think I must also rake up some more leaves this week and do a bit of mulching.

    I plan to chat to my folks this morning and see how’s what’s-what for them on the Corona/lockdown front.
    Stay safe Miss T.

    1. I’m liking the cornucopia appreciation. Thank you, Ark. Also good to hear you have produce and fingers crossed for the spuds. It’s always worth raking up leaves. If you have an old fashioned mower, then mowing them first speeds up decay. And / or you can mix in a scattering of grass mowings with them.

      From what you’ve said so far, your folks sound as if they’re doing pretty well. And as for lockdown, I’ve read that our professors of doom Whitty and Valance who provided the prophecy graphs at the weekend i.e. those justifying lockdown, have been summoned to the parliamentary science and technology select committee this afternoon. They are being called to account for their modelling scenarios which many scientists say are completely wrong as well as being out of date data, and as such, already demonstrates that their figures are at least 4 times too high.

      1. Well, I did not manage to get hold of my mum this morning – no doubt they are out galivanting with the dog somewhere.
        I must believe that only bad new travels fast and they are fine and dandy.

        Nice to hear that the Profs of Doom might not be as up to speed as claimed.

      2. There are some very rum things going on at the moment. Lord Jonathan Sumption former Lord Chief Justice has been one of the few sane and cogent voices to penetrate the general media censorship – one of his recent speeches is here on Tory Steve Baker’s blog:

        Otherwise the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine is a consistently reliable info source: Its head, Prof Carl Heneghan processes the data during the week and is a GP at the weekends.

  9. What a pleasure of taking a tour of your garden here, Tish. Beautiful, rich, fall colors. All are beautifully captured. Thank you for sharing with us.

  10. Bemused and bamboozled by Covid and I don’t suppose I’m alone. Clinging on to the sunshine after the rain and faith in your green fingers, Tish 🙂 🙂

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