Autumn Musings















I love the Autumn. I love the final harvests of fruits and vegetables grown throughout the Summer and the feeling that the hard work earlier in the year has usually been worth all the effort. Of course there will have been failures, such as the courgettes this year, which got burnt by the sun when I left them in the closed cold frame during a brief hot spell. Or the potato crop, which was pathetic in comparison with last year’s harvest. But even the failures have their uses and teach me some important lessons. And I love the glowing Autumn colours in the flower garden and the occasional perfect rose or interesting seed pod.



A selection of the more interesting tomatoes we grew this year






The last spray of the rose, “Deep Secret”






 A seed pod from my tree paeony






My dyer’s broom, rhubarb leaves and dahlia flowers and leaves have been cut, dried and stored for later use and the walnut hulls given to me by kind friends are soaking in tubs of water. However, I still have to harvest and use my woad leaves, so there are pleasures yet to come.

But eventually the frosts will come and strike down the remaining Summer flowers and it will be time to plant the bulbs. Eventually the garden will be ready for its late Autumn tidy-up. Trees need to be pruned and some plants will be divided or moved to new positions. And then finally most of the work will be done and it will be time to light the wood-burning stove and settle down in its warmth to plan for the next year.

7 replies
  1. quinn
    quinn says:

    Hello, Jenny –

    I’ve been following your blog to learn about dying with plant materials, and felt a little thrill when you mentioned walnuts today! A friend gave me two sacks of black walnuts yesterday – some still green, some blackened – for my very first venture into the world of dying. Exciting times 🙂

  2. Marian
    Marian says:

    I like autumn too. Other years have been dryer though, that I like better. This year is rain and more rain. Not very nice to enjoy those autumn days. We are still harvesting lots of stuff though, even strawberries! Completely crazy those plants.
    I still have leaves and wallnut hulls in a tub and it’s looking good….

  3. cedar
    cedar says:

    The garden and fruit still look lovely, we are already lighting our woodstove but the last zucchinis and tomatoes are just harvested.
    Am going for walnut hulls tomorrow, and the rains are coming…we are just about the same temperature here on the west coast of Canada …lots of the same flora here also..

  4. Meghan
    Meghan says:

    I pulled my walnut hulls into pieces this weekend and spread them across newspaper to dry – intrigued by your mention of soaking them. Are you going to store the dye liquid, or are you soaking them to use them all now? Also (for anyone)… I wasn’t able to determine whether people usually keep the very outer green layer + the pulp that surrounds the nut, or whether only the rind itself is most useful?

    All I really know is that, even with plastic gloves, the palms of my hands are a horrible mottled yellow-brown today… 🙂

    • Jenny Dean
      Jenny Dean says:

      The dye is in the outer green casing of the nut & this is the part that you want. However, it doesn’t matter if the nuts & pulp are added as well, if separating them is too labour-intensive. I soak these outer green (later black) hulls in water & just leave them soaking until I want to use them. I don’t bother to dry them – I just store them in this water. They usually keep well like this for years, if necessary.

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