As I stand in the kitchen with elderberries simmering on the stove and apple and blackberry crumble cooking in the oven, I have the feeling that autumn is settling in. There is a particular feeling of wellbeing that I associate with the autumn harvests, more so than any other season, though each has its own peculiar kind of magic. Autumn is the season of nourishment, of protection and of the wonderful hedgerow bounty that provides it. You can smell the changing season in the air, feel it in the early morning chill and taste it in every ripening berry. And perhaps most peculiar of all, the very presence of autumn has within it the promise of spring as the tiny seeds of new beginnings ripen and fall into the Earth’s embrace.
Autumn skies can be some of the most beautiful. My husband took this little video from an upstairs window a couple of days ago showing the clouds rolling across the weald.
Before I get too caught up in autumnal reverie however, I wanted to share some of the highlights of my summer, not quite all of which has been spent pinned under a feeding baby!
June bought us bright sunshine and an abundance of elderflowers which I harvested mainly for diaphoretic teas.
The wild roses were as good as I can ever remember them, spilling over hedges and farm tracks with abandon.
The roses in my garden also put on a fine show, despite me having so little time to care for them this year.
The Downs enjoyed its usual display of wild flowers including eyebright, yellow loosestrife and common spotted orchid.
And what a wonderful year for butterflies it has been. It gives me hope for the future of our declining populations. There have been lots of small skippers and large whites (not pictured) along with the fabulous peacocks, tortoiseshells and commas.
Plenty of bees have been spotted hanging off the garden herbs too!
And once the summer flowers have faded there are still plenty of beautiful seed heads to enjoy.