November continued with the weather theme for most of October. Grey, mild, wet. Glimpses of sun were fleeting, though as usual, we had the odd really sunny day, which allowed the photographer, and honeybees, to be active in the garden. There were as always some spectacular sunrises, and cloudscapes, and the excitement of the first crop of mushrooms developing around the roots and base of the lower copse mushrooms, which I’d chainsawed from 2 fir stumps just under 3 years ago. A surprisingly quick process, given the hundreds of mushrooms appearing this year. Biological entropy in full flow. By the 8th, we’d still not had a frost in most of the garden, although ice patterns had formed on 2 nights on the roof of the car, after clear skies at dusk. The consequence of these generally warm conditions, is that many plants are still flowering, and the snowdrop advance guard – Galanthus reginae olgae ‘Cambridge’, appeared as early as ever in the first week of the month, along with a few coloured peels of some witchhazel cultivars (Hamamelis ‘Nina’, ‘Robert’ and ‘Vesna’), poking through buds. A hint of splendour to come, as winter proper develops.
It took until November 24th for us to have the first frost of the year – 2 nights in succession, which created an Ice Volcano in our blue glass bowl, and wonderful frost rim etching on Fiona’s metal table top. The first Cyclamen coum flowers appeared around the 11th – always a reminder for me of the new gardening year ahead, and the excitement of all those spring bulbs.
By the end of the month, the Met Office confirms that it has been the third mildest autumn on record, with for us, lower than average rainfall, and slightly higher than average sunshine levels. What a bonus after such a lovely summer, but what will the winter hold in store?