Blog Header

Blog Header

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

All good things come to those who wait

It's been a long autumn and at first I was envious of the gorgeous colours I was seeing posted on the internet whilst looking out at my very green garden. But eventually everything has its hour of glory; it just so happens that here it is not all happening at the same time. So I have captured as best I can the changing colours over the past few weeks. My ornamentals were the first to turn and are now past their best, whilst finally our native trees are at their peak and the countryside is a mass of rusty browns from the oaks and blasts of yellow from the few poplars which still retain leaves and the hazels. Some trees are still green, some lost their leaves long ago. It's a nice mix and I'm now glad it took its time. Having so many leaves still on the trees in December will make winter seem shorter, somehow.

By the way, don't go thinking it's always sunny here just because you see blue sky in many of these photos. It's been the total opposite, but of course as soon as we have sun I am rushing out with a camera! 

Smokebush (Cotinus coggygria), the one that I think is 'Golden Spirit'.

Smokebush 'Royal Purple' with Horse Chestnut in the background.

My horse chestnuts have been hit by the Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner this year for the first time. This causes the leaves to turn brown and drop and they look autumnal and sad during the summer months. I've seen this damage around here before on large trees planted in parkland, and when I was in England in October I saw many affected trees. However what green remained on the leaves still managed to change colour and by November they were looking a lot more attractive than they did in August! 

Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum),
also known as a Conker Tree.

Spindly ornamental Cherry (possibly Prunus subhirtella)
which only has a few leaves high up, so is hard
to capture them against the usual grey sky!
Here alongside a Lime tree (Tilia sp.) starting to turn yellow.

16th November and the yellow leaves on the far side of the pond
is a Poplar in amongst the more green Alders,
with Willows on the right.

My unknown variety Purple Sycamore drops its leaves early.
Here's one that got caught on the trunk!

20th November and first real frost and all of a sudden
the Horse Chestnut rained leaves down all day! You can see the
unfrosted leaves sitting on top of the frosted ones
that were already on the ground.

It was too cold so I took this view out of the window. :-)
That's the Horse Chestnut in the centre.

One bug I can always find even in winter are the Firebugs (Pyrrhocoris apterus),
here on the trunk of a Lime (Tilia). Smokebush 'Golden Spirit' in the background.
The trees here are covered in lichen which generally is an indication of clean air.

Taken on a really gloomy day but still trying to capture the colour from the spindly
ornamental Cherry in the centre - few leaves left on it but you can see how lovely it can look.

Right now my Berberis is having its moment of glory.
This variety has purple leaves.

View from my bedroom window taken last Sunday when we had a rare sunny day!
Our common Oak is Quercus robur - bottom right looking very dark rusty coloured
and the others (centre background and to the left) just taking on these hues.
The yellowing tree left foreground is Hazel and these are looking bright in amongst them.

Also on Sunday - the trees at the far end of the lake
have turned a beautiful golden hue and it's not often
I get great reflections in a blue lake!

What's great is that it has been dry lately so finally my OH was able to hoover up all the fallen leaves with the ride on mower to add to our growing piles in the leaf mould bins, which in two years will turn into a fabulous soil conditioner. He's even been able to mow the lawns, so it's all looking a bit tidy - until the rest of the leaves fall!


  1. Wonderful Autumn feeling, Mandy!
    I'm glad you had enough sunshiny days to be able to capture the beauty of colours around you :)
    I love your pictures, and in particular the Purple Sycamore leaf, and the magical reflections in the lake!

    1. Many thanks Marie-Helene! Not as many sunny days as I'd have liked of course and I haven't seen any sun since Sunday, but I'm just happy that it is dry. Thanks for looking! :-)

  2. Good evening, Mrs. Millymollymandy Moorhen!
    This time enjoyed it while having a nice cup af cocoa! No that's not true, just finished our meal.
    I for one love the Berberis leaves in particular, their shape reminds me of butterflies, ànd the Sycamore leaf! The first split second I saw it I thought you played a trick on us, because it seems too large to be caught on that tree! But the icing on the cake was the picture of the "gloomy day" : bench and pond! Oh, how I would love to visit you once on your "domain" with a friend of mine, Mandy!
    Will it remain wishful thinking? Only time will tell, I guess...
    Thansk for your story, Mandy!

    1. It's only a 6.5 hour drive Jan, get in your car now and you can be here in time for afternoon tea, I'll get the scones going! :-)

      Thanks for your lovely comments. The sycamore leaves are very big but strangely the tree has remained very small all the time we have lived here (9 years) and doesn't seem to want to grow at all, which is a shame, because I love red leaves.

      The bench by the pond is well used in summer - this last summer during the hot spell we spent many hours here eating ice cream and watching baby moorhens and damsel and dragonflies. It seems such a long time ago, yet I don't mind as we have it all to look forward to again next year. I love having seasons! Thanks so much for visiting my friend. :-)

  3. At my place the colors are not brilliant that year and the leaves are not in a hurry to fall. Each year is different... Is your Horse Chestnut illed ? All the ones on Paris's avenues are. I've seen one in the northern part of France which wasn't

    1. Hi Cergie! It seems like the leaves are changing rapidly and dropping now, like they realise December is here and they ought to hurry up! Yes the Horse Chestnut has the same disease which you have seen in Paris. It is spreading across Europe. Such a shame.

      My trees are only babies although they are now producing flowers but compared to the huge trees one sees in parks and chateau grounds they are only small. I think that people will not plant these trees anymore. :-(

  4. Oh autumn came at last and it was worth the wait! You've got so many lovely mature plants in your garden creating a beautiful backdrop.

    1. Thanks for visiting and the lovely comment, Rosie. :-)

  5. Perfect Berberis Mmm - fleeting visit, as we're packing the van and are obliged to go to the community carols in 30 minutes. I'm in charge of flicking the switch to turn on the (minimal) lights ;-P

    1. Oh I know a famous person who gets to turn on the Christmas lights! :-) Have a fun evening.
      That Berberis is really glowing right now. Thanks Nick.

  6. Lovely Autumn photos, Mandy. It's a beautiful time of year isn't it?

    1. Thanks very much Sandra and yes it is, although this morning we had -1.8C and now the remaining leaves have been 'snowing' down all morning!