top of page

October Notes 2021

Updated: Jan 6, 2022

After the Autumn Equinox last month, with the rapidly shortening, I am leaning on the gardens and the tasks even more so to keep me rooted in the season and my joy in celebrations, events and people is more appreciated. As I travel through the year, the connection with the seasons is only more important.

The garden keeps growing in its predictable way, narcissus in March, tulips in May, roses in June and dahlias in September. When we had little summer to speak of, I am not surprisingly keen to plan the next one.

In the garden, I start the big task of the season, putting borders ‘to bed’ and mulching. Mulching is the single best thing you can do each year for your garden. It’s magic. It is one of those ultimate satisfying jobs that do way more than it should for the effort it takes. It’s also really simple.

Essentially, mulching is applying organic material onto the soil, in thick 2 or 3” layers. Organic material is anything ‘natural’ like homemade compost, recycled green waste, well rotted manure. It can also be coco shells, bark, even gravel. But if you want to give something back to the soil, some kind of compost is best.

Mulching over moist soil (so that it traps moisture) and around your plants stimulates microorganism activity, adds nutrients, suppresses weeds, improves the soil structure and prevents soil erosion. On our garden’s sandy free draining soil, this is essential. Improving the soil health this way will nourish your plants and garden in so many ways as they are tucked up beneath the blanket of compost. No less valuable, the beds will look very smart and tidy over the winter!

The seasons and the festivals that accompany them have always fascinated me and on reflection, I think this is what got me into gardening. Tasks like mulching keep me aligned with the here and now. The process and rhythm of activities through the year just doesn’t change. And the same goes for seasonal celebrations, hallo’ween, and the autumn bonfires.

I suppose a return to childhood activities, bringing in conkers and acorns last month, pumpkins and fallen rich hued leaves for the table now is finding comfort and solace as we all navigate this time. A way to connect to nature, return to craft, slowness, collecting treasures and bringing them home to decorate the table or window sill. I’ve always loved how Jim Ede at Kettles Yard gave his found stones, feathers and shells as much value as priceless pieces of art.

For a few years, whilst I concentrated on making client wreaths and bouquets, I didn’t do it for myself much as there always felt more important things to be doing but I am drawn to doing so again this year. This October I am gathering pieces of turning foilage on branches of berries, tendrils of old man’s beard clematis, tying in grasses and seed heads. You can quite quickly weave this into a circle, tucking branches in around each other until they hold. A little wire to secure and it will dry on my door over the next few weeks reminding me that there is much joy in making life more beautiful. Simply just that; make life more beautiful.

Originally Published in Cambridge Edition Magazine October 2021


bottom of page