We changed the clocks last night by that hour that marks the end of British summer time, but it didn’t mean we were really into typical weather and light for late autumn. We woke to drizzle but by lunchtime the sun was up and giving some warmth and the sky was blue. So a bonus session in the garden beckoned. And what a bonus day – gardening without jackets at the end of October – can’t be bad! And coffee out in the garden accompanied by pears and grapes freshly plucked from the cordon and vine – it gets better!
But the signs of autumn carried on all around us, the gentle watery song of the robin, the calls of redwing and fieldfare overhead. There are bonus flowers to appreciate too. Leading the way is the double orange flowered poppy, Papaver rupifragum. It simply shines. In bud it reveals a little of its silky amber secrets hidden within the tight hairy buds.
When it opens it is an orange sun. It outshines whatever sits alongside it. As a self-seeder it appears in different places each year – where it chooses not where we choose. It is better than us at knowing good neighbours.
Now to move from the riduculous to the sublime, the ridiculously bright and downright gaudy papaver to the gentlest of our garden perennials, the gaura. We love it in the summer for its gentle airy white flowers variously tinted with shades of pink, its delicate swaying in the gentlist breeze but we never think of it as a star of the autumn. But just look at these photos, the flower and the seed head bathing in and absorbing the lowering rays of the sun. This year we have seen it in a new light, the light of autumn.