It's that time of year again when the garden fills with autumn leaves. Beautiful as they may look, creating a blanket of reds, oranges and browns on the lawn, they don't do the grass any good. So they need to be cleared.
If you have a few fruit trees you may get away with leaving the wind to disperse them, but if you have oaks or horse chestnuts they will reward you with a thick layer of leaves that need to be removed. Horse chestnut leaves in particular are large and take a long time to rot, so it's essential to rake them up and remove to the compost heap. Oak leaves are plentiful and the garden will definitely benefit from having them removed so the lawn can breathe.
Small gardens can be cleared with a leaf blower, which can make life much easier. But a bigger lawn will involve some manpower. If you have a garden tractor with a trailer, this is the ideal way to gather up the leaves, but if you don't there are a couple of tricks to make leaf removal a bit easier. A large wheely bin makes a good transporter or we've seen a large plastic tarpaulin used. Simply pile the leaves on then one person can drag a large drag a large number of leaves without having to make too many trips.
This year has been a good one for horse chestnuts and we've found a huge number falling - perhaps that means we're in for a cold winter.
It's November, just after Bonfire Night and before Rememberance Sunday. The nights are turning colder and that means the trees are shedding their leaves. It's wonderful to behold the shades of reds and browns that permeate the countryside in the Autumn. It has a whole vibrancy that belies the fact that the leaves are actually dying.
In a few weeks we'll be left with skeletal branches against the winter sky, bringing a different kind of beauty to our precious trees. But for now we'll savour the colours of autumn and the crispness of the air, along with the crunch underfoot as dead leaves pile upon the ground.
It comes round every year, yet we never fail to appreciate the natural cycles that make this land such an interesting place to live. We can stop mowing the lawn, but replace that activity with the more arduous task of raking! This year conkers are everywhere in our garden, where the neighbour's horse chestnut trees overhang our land and drop their plentiful fruits. We removed a whole barrowful, which is certainly a record.
Have you ever studied a horse chestnut? It's a beautifully marked work of art that wouldn't look out of place in a gallery. A quick buff and a conker will polish up with a lovely sheen and markings to behold.
It's an interesting time of the year that takes us from the warmth of summer to the colder crisper days when we await the delivery of a load of logs and will look forward to toasting ourselves on an open fire.
Roll on Christmas ......