Autumn is on its way

A leaf on our floor has come in to visit today. I put the photo through photodirector to give more texture to it.

Some of our trees are starting to lose their leaves already. I think the lack of water over the last few months has had an effect. Autumn seems to come later each year, with warmer weather the leaves usually stay on longer. It may start now, but trees hold onto their leaves until well into November. But is this leaf a precursor to an earlier fall?

Light through leaves

I noticed how light shines through the leaves of this plant. The leaves are spread out so the light gets to most of them. Looking at trees, I can see the leaves do the same thing. They spread out and don’t overlap much. If you look closely at trees and other plants you can see the leaf pattern fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes when you see a bush the leaves are all on the outside, close fitting, and the centre is just branches and twigs. The internal area has been shaded out by the ball of leaves around it. Maximum photosynthesis and maximum food for the plants. Nature is wonderful, and evolution is amazing.

Horse Chestnut

Horse Chestnut leaf today. On a sapling. The leaves are larger than a man’s hand, deeply segmented and split into seven sections. The tree will grow very large and when it starts to flower it will grow large white flowering bracts. Then in the autumn it develops nuts called Conkers. These are encased in a spikey shell that you have to peel off. This is the thing that children make holes through and then use to play the game conkers. Basically each person has one of them. They drill or pierce the nut with a skewer fron the top to the base. It is then threaded onto a string. Two children / people stand opposite each other. One holds up their conker and swings it at the other one. If it hits it can either knock the other conker or split it. If it doesn’t break the other person takes a turn. The conker is called a “one-er” if it survives. Each time it doesn’t break the number goes up, so “two-er” and so on. Some people bake conkers or soak them in vinegar to strengthen them.

So basically when you hear about a game of conkers that’s what it is. The trouble comes when you try and get them off the trees. We have a row of them on the main road. Children throw sticks and stones up at the branches to get them down which can be a hazard if you walk or drive underneath them.

Camellia

Beauty on a spring morning. Petals turned toward the sun. Glistening pink surfaces. Yellow/orange centres. They look edible, like gorgeous sweets. Crisp and crunchy, or like cupcake icing. Sugar lumps of tasty colour. Then the dark green shining leaves. They add a polished background to their jewel like flowers. How strong they grow in early spring. The frost sometimes nibbles petal and leaf. But on a bright sunlight morning, what better sight.

Fig tree leaves

Our fig tree that grows alongside the house is well sheltered and has got rather tall this year. The leaves are really big and are just starting to fall off. The one on the ground still looks healthy and green. The laurel bush is towering over everything and really needs cutting back but we don’t have the skills or the strength to do it.

So all in all the garden is thriving. We need to maintain it bit it’s our wild haven. I will maybe post more photos as the year turns.