3 Signs of Autumn
Can you feel the change in the evening air? Almost unnoticed, the autumn chill has crept into my garden. Autumn is now reigning over the remaining colours and textures. There are some signs though that you cannot miss; inevitable companions of fall that will decorate the garden, aid your pantry and help out all the neighbouring wildlife. We will discuss these 3 Signs of Autumn in today’s article.
So let’s explore the 3 signs of Autumn. Let’s welcome her with both arms wide, prepared for whatever she will bring this year. Because, quite frankly, we have no other option anyhow, so at least- let’s be prepared.
Fruit on Rowan Tree
The first sign for me of the upcoming season is the fruit on the Rowan tree at the gate.
Commonly known as Mountain Ash this tree is one of the easiest to grow and one of the most popular.
The tree is native to most of Europe and used to cold, windy and salty air, Sorbus Aucuparia is brilliant for large and small gardens alike. It will delight you with clusters of creamy white flowers in April and May which are also a magnet for pollinators.
Birds love to build their nests among the many branches. They also love to pick on the gorgeous bright orange berries in the autumn time.
Should you be lucky enough to get to them berries before your aviary friends, here are a few tips on how to use their goodness to your advantage.
Those little balls are full of vitamins C, K and A, so they can help with boosting your immune system, fighting off infections, aiding digestion and added to skin products work magic with wrinkles. These are only the few I know myself. If you want to find out more, start reading and researching. I am actually blown away by the possibilities this common fruit has on offer. It seems the beneficial aspect is not as commonly known. Mountain Ash berries can be used in jams, jellies, juices and for the more adventurous of us a strong concoction resembling wine. I am settling for the colour in my garden and extra bird food. Trying not to be too greedy with the good stuff offered.
I fully intend to use my second fall representative, all of it if I can put my hands on them!
Blackberries are now in a full “ready” mood all around my hedges. Their shiny purple faces smiling enticingly encouraging me to get my hands shredded by their branches. I am not easily discouraged though, so thick hoody and a pair of secateurs (should I get tangled up) and I am ready for action. There is nothing more homely, warm and sweet than the smell and taste of homemade blackberry jam.
Packed with natural goodness and full of vitamins a jar of your own jam will get you a long way. And it really is very, very easy. Go equal amounts of fruit and sugar, this never let me down yet. And it is one of the few times left when my Gooseberry is making himself available for help aka “spoon licking” or “memory making”. Thankfully Blackberries are growing freely and in abundance, so even if you haven’t your own hedge you can raid the woods or any field edge close to home. There is plenty to go around.
The third sign of autumn comes in a form of a shiny brown sphere encased in a green spiky shell. You will find them in parks, woods or old gardens.
I am talking about chestnuts, my childhood’s favourite fall fruit. We used to collect those in great amounts and make little animals or people using matchsticks and polymer clay. Apart from entertaining qualities chestnuts are also known to be beneficial in the beauty industry. They are widely used in skin care products for varicose veins. In addition, they are also used in hair care products for stronger and healthier hair.
The Horse Chestnut tree is what I call a “stately” tree. A tree that will not easily fit in any kind of garden. This tree can reach up to 90 feet in height when fully mature and is best grown as a feature.
If you do have a big garden and a need for something spectacular, Horse Chestnut might just be the thing for you.
Not only it is a fabulous example to be enjoyed by many generations, but it also provides year-round interest. From chestnuts in the autumn, stunning bare structure in winter, amazing floral display in the spring and shade and shelter source in the summertime. This tree can be enjoyed throughout the year.
Those are the 3 signs of Autumn and that is how I know we are embracing autumn again. I still feel a little twinge for the summer, for the things I have not finished, for lazy days in the sun and for the feeling of bliss. Autumn brings a feeling of urgency, to finish up, to get ready, to sort everything out. We shall be busy now. We shall embrace this autumn because quite frankly, we have no other choice.
Thank you, Magda O’ Byrne