Summer came to an end and Autumn began on the 23rd September – and it appears nature got the memo. Leaves are beginning to fall fast, the first signs of early morning frost in the air – and of course the shorter days.
Most people assume that as a gardener, I hate this time of year. In truth, I enjoy aspects of every season, for different reasons.
Spring is probably my favourite time of year. It’s the time we sow and plant with hope and expectation for the year ahead. After a long, dark and often wet winter, spring gives us the first glimpse at more enjoyable weather too – though it can be very changeable! Frosts are not uncommon right into May, and a particularly hard frost will invariably kill off some of your seedlings or young plants. The wonderful part of spring, however, is that there’s ample time to re-sow and replant, with plenty of time left for them to catch up again.
Summer is when most people ‘enjoy’ their gardens. It’s perhaps the time of year allotments are at their busiest, especially during hot and dry periods. As summer progresses, harvesting increases and we start to look towards autumn and the following year.
Autumn is, for most, the season where things start to simmer down. As harvesting comes to an end, very little sowing and planting is done. We already begin thinking about the following spring. This is also a good time for reflection – the weather is generally still acceptable to be outside without needing 20 layers of clothing, but there’s ample time to review how the year has gone – and think about what you’re going to do next year.
Winter is the time when the garden, or allotment, can be at it’s most challenging. It can be tricky to get anything done in cold, wet weather. However, things are less ‘pressing’ at this time of year. Many of the tasks during winter revolve around general housekeeping. Sweeping up leaves, tidying and cleaning. No harm if these jobs are left for another day. As January comes around, the days start to become noticeably longer. The usual early-morning frost illuminates the garden – bringing with it the hope of a new season.
As a gardener, each season can offer you as much or as little to do as you wish. However, a period of rest, both for the garden and the gardener, I believe to be as important as anything else.