An Ode to Autumn

I embrace the seasons. As each one fades I am ready for the next to come into view. The flush of excitement as I see something for the first time in months is, for me, simply irresistible.

Here are some of the Autumnal sights I most anticipate, with some suggestions of ways you can seek them out:

  1. The reds, golds and yellows of Autumn leaves – it’s the best time of year to visit an arboretum or the gardens of stately homes. Some of my favourites are Markshall, Hever Castle, Sheffield Park, Leonardslee, all the RHS gardens and the larch forests in Wales.
  2. Fantastic fungi – it’s worth a woodland walk after some rainy days to see these beauties, which have fantastic names such as Chicken of the woods, Inkcap and my favourite – Jelly Ear.
  3. Seed heads of grasses backlit by the low sunshine. I can’t take my eyes away as I drink them in. I plant them where I can see them from the house, and as I pull into our driveway.
  4. The first frosty morning! If I can I will run outside, probably in a dressing gown, to take pictures.
  5. Sunrises get later and are almost at a civilised hour. On waking, if I see a hint of pink I rush to the window and pull back the curtain to see the full spectacle.
  6. Picking blackberries. A task to enjoy with my daughter, as I once enjoyed with my parents. We try and beat our neighbours to the nearby blackberry hotspots.
  7. Collecting seeds from trees. Conkers, like we used to collect as children. Beech masts, prickly and crunchy underfoot. And smooth, brown acorns – perfect for drawing faces on with their little hats.

You can now pre-order my book The Cactus Surgeon: using nature to fix a faulty brain. It’s a nature and health memoir, exploring how I used the small wonders of nature to aid my recovery.

The first frost in 2020

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