Out There: Revelling in the glory of autumn

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Autumn is upon us and nowhere is it more evident than in our gardens.

In my back garden at Caton the glorious colours of autumn are a joy to behold.

My globe-trotting husband Mark (aka Sparky) is off on holiday with his mum so I’ve had plenty of time to indulge my love of gardening.

Mention the words ‘hedge’ and ‘shears’ in the same sentence and Sparky runs for the hills.

It’s lucky that I’m so keen on gardening or our plot would be a solid mass of overgrown foliage and weeds.

So while Sparky was off taking photographs on a French beach, I was pulling up weeds, cutting back dead foliage, digging up unwanted plants such as alchemilla mollis, mulching, planting and preparing pots for spring bulbs.

We’d had a busy few weeks so it had been a while since I’d had a proper look at what was growing in our garden.

The apple trees were heavy with fruit so I picked some, ready for juicing.

I’m not sure if it’s because we’ve had a hot summer but many of the plants were unusually tall. Bronze fennel, rich purple verbena bonariensis and vibrant yellow helianthus towered above me.

The burnt orange heleniums, pale pink hardy fuchsia, mauve veronica, cerise penstemon, pillar box red salvia and fading sweet peas had also grown to gargantuan size.

It was enlivening to be surrounded by such vigorous growth.

It might just last a bit longer as the forecast for the next few days is good but our garden is a real frost pocket so it will be curtains for the flowers when colder weather bites.

Another of Sparky’s pet hates – garden centres – was also on my radar.

I decided on a trip out to Hayes at Ambleside. I came away with a small topiary cone, some solar garden lights and about 50 or so tulip bulbs.

I also went into Lancaster and bought some topiary shears from the Lile Tool Shop which, rather impressively, has been open since 1885. I set to work on the front garden which has four small topiary spheres in it.

I managed to clip them reasonably well but when I had a go at the topiary cone I managed to snip the top of my little finger. There was blood everywhere.

I cleaned up the wound and put several plasters on it to stem the flow of blood.

There’s a lesson for everyone – be extremely careful with sharp tools.

Undaunted, I carried on working for several hours and was extremely satisfied with the results.

There’s nothing quite like working in the garden to help you unwind and remind yourself of what really matters in life. The simple pleasures are always the best.