The Orange Tip

Month: December, 2012

Winter Song


Each year, around the second or third week into the freeze, a robin comes into my shed and calls. The first year I was surprised and a bit confused, the second still surprised, and now I think I’d be a bit miffed if he didn’t bother.

The reason, I think, is that around mid November I start putting out seed on the bird table. Once it’s become habitual, and regular enough to be missed if not carried out on time, the robin takes to reminding me of my duties. It’s quite funny really; similar to a dog or a cat, which is very strange for a wild creature, especially a bird. And I’m not sure I’m all that comfortable about it either. Often I’ll arrive at the shed and he’ll already be waiting on a nearby or overhanging branch, calling directly at me, and flying in as soon as the door is opened. Ultimately I suppose all wild animals are opportunists by nature, and I can’t blame a robin for making a servant of a gullible gardener..



Maple Leaves


This Autumn brought a period of relief in the garden; where for brief moments the rain stopped and the clouds dissipated and the season behaved in the manner in which we all hoped it would. Given that we lost out on an entire Autumn last year; when the leaves seemed to reach the ground before they had a chance to turn, together with a closely following warm Winter and wet Summer, the colours we’ve had this time round have been all the more welcome. It’s safe to say that, in those rain-free moments, the Autumn show this year has been incredible. All up and down the country the views from September have been impressively rich in reds, oranges, yellows and browns. Beeches, poplars, oaks, hazels, hawthorns and, perhaps most significantly, the Acers (sycamore, norway and field maples etc) all formed dramatic impressions along the landscape.

At the garden back in Richmond our beacon has been the huge Norway maple overlooking the top meadow. Over the last couple of months from it’s initial gradual turn to the last few leaves to drop, I’ve been stunned by the impression it’s made on the garden. My notebook is full with the detailing of these changes, and at its peak in mid morning sun low over the field, the tree literally glowed as if the light came from within. The yellow of the Norway maple in Autumn is really quite remarkable, and has made me stop and look many, many times while at work in the garden.