One of my highlights of the past few months was reviewing Charlotte Lloyd-Webber’s seasonal installation at the wonderful Castle Howard. Here’s my piece for Northern Soul magazine:
The trees surrounding our house have not forgotten what time of year it is, even if the weather hasn’t yet caught up. The sky-reaching line of horse-chestnuts takes pride of place in heralding the turning season; I love to sit next by the lovely draughty leaded windows in our sitting room, and watch Autumn arrive. Each year the colour moves in the same way; the orange embers begin to smoulder at the furthest tree and creep quietly along the row, catching the odd leaf in turn with a spark which will slowly gather fuel from the starry nights and morning chills, until the entire row becomes a loud blaze of orange Autumn joy.
This colour is echoed across the garden at this time of year. The abundant clusters of holly berries which hang low over the path like party decorations for the Autumn solstice are currently the same beautiful orange en route to their Winter scarlet. My new patch of Chinese Lanterns (Physallis) reflect the same hue in their waxy pumpkin-shapes, having their own private celebration amongst the rapidly fading roses.
Even the last stragglers on my tomato plants have conformed to the seasonal dress code, bright orange against their browning leaves. A robin hops around the border, his rusty breast bridging the gap between Autumn’s orange and the deep reds which emerge as this season progresses.
The apple tree is utterly magnificent this year, though struggling to stand proud with its heavy harvest. An enormous spider, which has kindly taken it upon himself to keep our kitchen free of flies, grows fatter by the day. One last flower decorates my trusty Clematis Montana, whilst the white Cosmos flowers glow against the darker mornings.