Another winter sea.
The colours change and with them the course of the seasons. All of the leaves have gradually transformed from green to yellow to red and brown and keep flittering down. The grass is carpeted with their various patterns. And so the process of clearing up continues, raking up and gathering as many as possible or blowing them into the borders where they act as a mulch for the coming cold months. Some end up on the compost but just as many are piled up in hidden corners where they will break down over time, or on a smouldering bonfire. It takes a while to get this going as everything is soaking wet.
More and more branches are gathered from trees taken down or areas thinned out – in particular the wild cherries by the beehives at the top of the Parkland. There was just too much crowding here so a few are cut down to let the others fill out but also to let more light into the edge of the Woodland garden directly behind. Further branches are trimmed off from the sycamore overhanging the Allotment. There is much shredding of all this accumulated waste which ends up as good feed for the compost heaps. Larger logs are left in a pile behind the Corinthian capital at the front entrance area along the perimeter wire fence, disguising a bit of its ugliness as well as forming a small sanctuary for wildlife here.
The woodshed is cleared out one side of old rotten or damaged wood and various bits and pieces of abandoned junk to make it ready for new logs to be saved here as future firewood.
Attention is given to the roses – after most of the bright hips have gone, those which form the perimeter of the Kailyard hedge are clipped into shape, and those in the Front garden, the Temple garden and Hortus are pruned back. More top dressing soil improver is also added to the beds here.
By the Camouflaged Flowers on the hillside the cotoneaster has put on an exuberant display of bright red berries. A visual feast in contrast to washed out grey skies, a beacon set against the bleak wild moorland.
The boat pavers in the Front garden are covered over to be kept clean and dry until they have their painted inscriptions refreshed.
The golden Head of Apollo has been brought indoors to be renovated and re-gilded where some patches are badly worn – a new silent but illustrious companion in the visitor centre.
The guttering is cleared of leaves – around the temples and outbuildings and also the house, even though they fill up again just as quickly with a new influx.
All of the grass paths too are kept clear of leaves so that they do not suffer from too much more deterioration over the coming season. Some areas will also need repairs – and a new brick section needs to be built in the Kailyard on the well-worn path to the ‘Loo’.
As the days shorten and grow colder the last of the leaves will surely fall. It has been almost unseasonably mild for much of the month and it feels like somehow there will be consequences – what seemed like a long way off is now upon us as the mornings turn frosty, the air is raw, the light fades – as we embark upon another winter sea…