Autumn

sunshine and showers
Sunshine and showers

Well after a rather wet August, late September was not been too bad weather wise, although October is shaping up to be a bit windy (more on that in a later post!).  We tried to get a final cut of the pathways done, but haven’t cracked the timing.  With the wet mild weather in August the grass had grown long and lush.  Strong winds with rain had led to the grass falling over making it very difficult to cut, even after a couple of days hot and dry.  S. managed to go round the main trackway with the scythe mower, but with a rather poor result.  Some of this was possibly due to a lack of sharpness on the blades, which has now been addressed, but we think that leaving the cut till this late in the season is just not practical.  I guess if the weather had been better we may have been able to cut earlier, but still after the yellow rattle is ripe, however it often is wet at this time of year.

raking out
Raking up

What took S. half a day to cut has taken me about 5 times as long to rake up, and I still haven’t finished!  It is pretty hard work untangling the cut grass from the uncut turf whilst you have a dog trying to catch the rake head!  I have to take a fetch toy as well, but Dyson gets tired and would rather have more direct participation!  Once I have cleared the cut grass away, I can sow the collected yellow rattle seed.  As I tried to explain above, I don’t know whether we will succeed in creating the right rhythm for the plant, which needs clear soil to grow anew each year.  I don’t know whether we will be able to leave it long enough to ripen seeds, as we could do with cutting the grass before it gets too long.

sprouting hazel stick
Sprouting hazel stick (new spruce on right)

I’m planning on taking the cut grass and using it to mulch the trees in the area of the field where they are doing less well, particularly the new trees that I planted this spring.  I used fresh cut hazel twigs from my new hazels to mark the tiny new trees so that I could find them again in the long grass.  Recently I have been surprised to see that some of the hazel twigs started to sprout!  I don’t know whether they have actually formed roots or not.  Often it takes a while for the twigs to realise that they are dead, so they may just be zombies.  In the spring I will need to transplant some of the spruce, where two seedlings have survived in a single plant hole, so I will dig up the hazel twigs then as well.  Thinking about it, I will need to identify the ones that are sprouting now, since they will be leafless still in early spring, I’ll tie a bit of wool around the sprouting ones this week.

fallen leaves
Fallen Alder leaves

The turning of year shows in the drawing in of the evenings (and the later mornings).  Leaf fall gathers under the trees even though only the wych elm are practically leafless.  These leaves represent the carbon and nitrogen made solid by the trees, building soil and trapping carbon.  Autumn colours show briefly before being torn away by the wind.

fleeting gold
Fleeting Autumn

 

 

8 thoughts on “Autumn

  1. I didn’t know Yellow Rattle needs clear soil each year. I have just read the Plantlife article on growing it which was quite clear and concise. I had been hoping to use it to reduce our grass but I’m not sure if our soil isn’t too rich and the poor rattle will just fade away!
    Your raking job sounds difficult and the photo shows you have a lot to do!

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    1. Yellow rattle seems ideally adapted to hay meadows. Unfortunately I live in an area where it is difficult to make hay! I think they used to cut the grass earlier in the summer. The idea is that the yellow rattle will paracitize the grass. It does need it sunny though. If you are able to take a cut in summer as the rattle seed is ripening I think this is all it needs to keep going in practice. I’ll scatter my seed anyway. Bear in mind this just appeared spontaneously in my tree field, so it can’t be that fussy!

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    1. The leaves blow off just after they turn, so although the birch leaves turn yellow, we never get a whole tree’s worth. I’m hopeful that some of the exotics I’ve planted may have a bit of a show. The chokeberries are quite a dark red, although still a bit small to make a good photo. Blueberries also, which I am planning still, are supposed to have good autumn colour.

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  2. The sprouting hazel is quite lovely, and reminds me of Keats:
    “To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
    And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
    To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
    With a sweet kernel…”
    I don’t envy the work you have to do to prepare for next year even though I envy the view you have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for that mote of culture! Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that we will get such a good hazelnut crop this year as last. I have gathered a few, which I actually intend to plant (more on that later).
      Ha! this isn’t work this is fun! I just wish I had the fun of doing the mowing as well as the fun of raking all the grass up! It’s all good exercise anyhow.
      With the views come the winds. I do admit though, sometimes I just stop and soak it all in and realise how lucky I am to be here.

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