Friday, 21 September 2012

The Turning of the Season - Nature's Bounty

Although each season has its merits, and I look forward to them all, September is one of my favourite months for observing the turning of the season.  Being fortunate enough to live in the countryside I become aware of the gradual changes.  As yet, the leaves haven't changed colour - but the hedgerows are becoming full of wonderful things to admire and gather.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better
Albert Einstein
On the way back from the plot this morning, I stopped off at one or two places where I knew (or hoped) that there would be plenty of pickings.  I wasn't disappointed.

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth
are never alone or weary of life
Rachel Carson
I go to nature to be soothed and healed
and to have mny senses put in order
John Burroughs
I love seeing the elder bushes dripping with fruit. The hedgerows are studded with purple berries - making foragers of us all.
Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.
It will never fail you.
Frank Lloyd Wright

Blackberries are eminently photographable aren't they - the greens, reds and purples of the berries make a great subject.
Who can resist blackberry-picking - whilst we were on holiday, early one morning,  we saw two ladies doing just that behind the shore-line at Snettisham where there is a wild area.  The blackberries were smaller than we see inland - but they do have a lot of rough weather to put up with.  I will freeze those that I pick and wait till the Bramleys are ready - and make some blackberry and apple jam.

Or maybe I will collect some crab apples
If you know where to look there are plenty of apples to be had. 

Come forth into the light of things
let nature be your teacher
Wm. Wordsworth
The sloes are also ripening quite nicely - I know of some bushes where the sloes grow almost as big as damsons - unfortunately last year the council cut them back as they were threatening to grow too far on to the road.  So maybe this year there won't be as many - I'll have to and check.

And finally, there are the rosehips
Happiness is looking out across fresh fields
gazing at a distant tree
feeling the sun on your back
and the wind brushing your skin
I am hoping to be able to collect enough rosehips to make some jelly this year - a kilo should be enough, but that requires a lot of picking.  I drive slowly along the lanes when I am on a journey ready to slam on the brakes if I see some edibles calling out to be collected.  When out walking I always have plastic bags in my pockets - just in case.  You never know when you are going to come across a field of mushrooms or a stray plum tree.

It is definitely the best time of year for making the most of what nature has to offer.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

A Walled Garden at Wiveton

When we go to North Norfolk for a break I love to visit the PYO farm at Wiveton - not to pick fruit - but to visit the walled garden.  It is a lovely garden with its own micro-climate with huge flint walls that shelter it from the coastal winds. 
Flowers and vegetables are intermixed in a higgledy-piggledy fashion - the veg are used in the adjoining cafe and the flowers for cutting to put on the cafe tables.  There is a little old lady who is responsible for making the arrangements for the vases - she must be 90 if she's a day - she was in the garden whilst we were there talking to the gardener who is a youngish woman.
What I like about this garden is that it is not perfect and things are allowed to seed - and flop and sprawl.

There are ancient fruit trees along the walls, laden with fruit and in the centre is the biggest Mulberry tree I have ever seen

It is obviously very old - the trunk of the tree is huge and dominates the centre of the garden.

This is the wonderful rhubarb patch  overlooking the netted brassicas

There is no formality to the garden - trees are planted where there is space and everything flourishes even though the soil is sandy.

It wasn't the best time of year to visit as most things were starting to go over

but just look at the colourful Borlotti beans bulging in their pods

This circular summer house is in the corner of the garden - notice the old Victorian watering barrel on the right and the trays of onions drying in the sun

It is very like a secret garden and you never know what you are going to find from one visit to the next

A lot of the ground is empty at this time of year where crops have been harvested - but you can still get the feeling of what it looks like when it is full of colour and produce. I could wander round it all day - don't you just love a walled garden.