27 October 2015

...and fallen leaves

Betty came by on her way
Said she had a word to say
About things today
And fallen leaves
from River Man, by Nick Drake

Have a listen to this new rendition by American singer Lizz Wright:

A mild and virtually wind-free October has meant that the leaves seem to have hung on for a lot longer than usual this year. A mild October feels like some sort of blessing, shortening winter as it does. But the last day or two have brought a change, and a southeasterly wind--and the rain borne on it--have brought us fallen leaves...

Japanese Maple in the garden, going all 'drama queen' about losing its leaves:
overnight the ground is covered

Rain and wind bring down glowing beech leaves near the stream
Maybe it's my appalling memory, I don't know if this happens to you dear reader, but every single year I am delighted anew by autumn leaves. On dull grey autumn days, the yellow-gold radiance of a stand of ash trees, the honeyed glow of a pile of damp beech leaves, the ruby fire of the Japanese maple -- all of these are a marvel to me. And while I'm singing Autumn's praises, may I put a word in for the joy of cycling? The route I take brings me over the Dodder river on a different bridge now than the ones I used to use and being on the bike means that when this gorgeous scene caught my eye the other morning, I was able to pull in and take a pic to share with you all. Even without the phone pic, I would have stopped. Couldn't have done this from a bus or from a car. Love the aul' bike.

Autumn on the Dodder river
Autumn in the garden means tidying up (though not tooo much: down to natural indolence on my part and leaving nice habitats for small beasties) and that includes the greenhouse. The tomato plants have been consigned to the compost heap and the last of the tomatoes themselves are being eaten now. I've tried to sort out some of my alpines in the hopes of getting them through the winter. But I've left the Shoo-fly plant alone:

Nicandra physalodes still blooming in the greenhouse
I just love how its surprising green-ness and its almost violet-blue flowers continue to whisper summer, while autumn is everywhere else. And its flower buds and later its seed pods are gorgeous things: you can see why its specific name is Nicandra physalodes: those seed pods look very like Physalis. Come the first serious frost it will succumb, even under glass, but that's okay, I'll enjoy it while I can. You may remember I tried out an #inktober drawing of one of its seed pods recently:

Seed pod of Nicandra physallodes

Far from fun #inktober sketches, the *real* paper awaits: Fabriano Artistico Extra White 300gsm. I've to get a portrait of the birch tree onto this. And make it look convincing, and maybe beautiful too. Oh dear.

Fear of the blank Fabriano page looms large...
After much displacement activity over the weekend (including house-cleaning, which will give you some indication of how scared I am) I worked on composition. I'm currently getting some great advice from my resident photographer and from artist friends. Some day soon I'll have to, you know, put pencil to paper. Watch this space.

Meanwhile, go well all.

1 comment:

  1. Argh! A blank sheet of paper! No wonder you cleaned the house. You will be fine - you are talented!
    I agree with you about cycling. I cycled through forests last week and it was exhilarating and inspiring. Love your maple shedding its leaves with a flourish. None of that leaf here and a leaf there. Proper shedding - that's how it should be done.