You will know that Autumn is on the way when you feel a delicious chill around your ankles and the leaves of exotic planes and pin oaks turn scarlet, cinnamon and purple before falling. You can almost feel time passing in the air.
It is time to relax and tune into the natural cycles, slow down a little, sit quietly to watch a spider spin her web.
as summer fades
the seasons drift
untethered, swallows gather
and evenings stretch a bit
the earth exhales
then leaves grow limp
before curling into winter pose
Indigenous gardens are wonderful in Autumn. Looking gorgeous when exotic gardens can look a bit miserable. There are plenty of butterflies around during autumn which prefer local plants. The bold Citrus Swallowtail which lays its eggs on the Vepris lanceolata and the little transparent orange Garden Acrea which, in it’s caterpillar form, provides a feast for the cuckoos in the Kiggelaria Africana. Many trees are fruiting at the moment (including Vepris and Kiggelaria) and attract crowds of birds to the garden.
One of the first signs that Autumn has arrived is the purples and pinks of the entire Plectranthus family in full bloom. These beautiful shrubs are an absolute riot in the shady areas, from delicate ground covers to 2m tall shrubs providing a spectacular display of flowers ranging from pale pink to deep purple, white and many shades in-between. The fragrant foliage is attractive for much of the year with many of the leaves having contrasting purple undersides or prominent veins. Other plants flowering during this time add oranges – the magnificent Leonotis (a favourite with sunbirds) and the falling stars of Crocosmia; yellows (Senecio and Hypericum) and more purples – Hypoestes arisata and Polygala virgata which are favourites of the fat, shiny carpenter bees.
Many of us are ‘nest building’ for the cooler season. It’s time to reflect on how we affect the environment with our excessive energy needs and make some changes to lessen the burden we place on the Earth. Toasty Tips Here.
It’s also harvest time – time to gather the abundance of the growing season, to pick pumpkins and make celebratory soups or indulge in a lazy picnic on a grassy slope with bird sounds for company. Once the rain stops, many vegetables thrive while the days are still warm, making this the most abundant season of all. We harvest the second sowing of green beans, the first lettuces and celebrate the change.
Seed harvesting, sorting and saving is a satisfying task, best done on warm dry days with a few friends.
Who doesn’t love leisurely afternoon walks in the hayfields amongst giant bales or across golden grasslands? Listening to the sound the wind makes ruffling through the tall grass awaiting harvest by Zulu women to use as thatch.
In the Midlands we take pride in living in harmony with the natural environment and local communities, sharing the extra harvest with neighbours and friends. Join our community for a while, to share our soups and stories and allow Autumn in the Midlands to overwhelm the senses.