When I went out this morning to tidy up my messy garden, I looked hard and thought - it's actually not messy at all! It's simply what happens in May, so instead of cutting back and tidying as I had planned, I grabbed my camera and started taking photos. You can see the results below.
This change of heart was in part, inspired after I had watched the film -
'Five Seasons: the Gardens of Piet Oudolf'.
Piet Oudolf is an influential Dutch garden designer, plant nursery man and author. He is a leading figure of the "New Perennial" movement and designs plant compositions using bold drifts of herbaceous perennials and grasses which are chosen at least as much for their structure as for their flower colour. He designed the planting for the famous High Line Garden in New York as well as many other well known gardens in North America, Northern Europe and Britain. One of his most acclaimed gardens in Britain is the Hauser and Wirth garden in Somerset called Oudolf Fields. He believes in appreciating the long lived beauty of a plant, lasting well beyond its flowering period into its reproductive seedhead phase and beyond into decay.
We so often think of colour in autumn, and it's true - the fiery crimsons, golds and oranges of autumn foliage are a sight to behold. But so are the browns and bleached out beige's of dried seedheads and decay. It is in these understated dried plant skeletons that we can now easily see the structures and shape, and as Piet Oudolf says that, too, is to be appreciated.
But we can't have a story about autumn without colour so here goes!
The above colour is in my face, a footstep away in my own small garden, well within my bubble! But beyond is the wider bubble! I can walk to the city if I choose, and what autumn treats there are to discover on the way. And all within my bubble!
Also within my bubble is the Red Zone and the wide open spaces this offers alongside the Avon river and environs. So yesterday for my daily walk, I turned east instead of west into more beautiful tree lined river landscapes flaunting their autumn colours and the further east I went, the more the vistas opened out into ever widening empty landscapes.
Yet within these open landscapes, there are rectangular lines of shrubs and trees delineating the gardens which had once been there and the sadly bare central spaces within these boundaries where peoples homes had been before they were demolished.
It's an eerie sight and an eerie feeling as you can almost hear the ghostly sounds of absent people - the voices of children playing, lawns being mown, cars pulling into driveways and neighbours calling to each other as they went about their daily business.
Where there had been active and thriving communities, there is now nothing except ghostly rectangular outlines of shrubs which once enclosed someones home.
The further east I walked the more the old earthquaked road narrowed and became more rutted, and the wide open spaces of before began to close in again with more mature trees. I realised I was coming to something special and sure enough planter boxes appeared along the track and pots with flowers spilling out of them, and there were signs and steps up to a sheltered garden raised slightly above the road. It was the entrance to the Richmond Community Garden.
I'm fortunate in my bubble, as there are many places within walking distance, and those pictured above are just some of them.