Friday, 27 September 2013

Mist and Mellow Fruitfulness...

Autumn by Giuseppe Arcimboldo 1527 - 1593 - renown for painting portraits with elements consisting entirely of fruit - courtesy of Wikipedia

The last few days of September are drifting away - our autumn firmly upon us, "seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness..." as pointed out by John Keats Esq. He's so right, the berries once more this year in masses in our hedgerows and gardens, fruit being dropped on the ground there's so much and the first mists arrived last week.

The pictures below represent just seven of the different types of berries found in my back garden an hour ago.
Yew tree fruit (which turns into an aril)

I was minded to a conversation I had a week or so ago with a colleague at work about summer and when it starts and finishes.

Rowan berries - the leaves turn a gorgeous fiery orange in late autumn
Where we are on the northern hemisphere of this planet, the meteorological autumn starts on the 1st of September, whilst those on the 'bottom half' of the world, it's their start of spring and it goes right through until the end of November. Gaelic traditions often consider autumn as August through to October.

Honeysuckle berries
But back to autumn or 'fall' if you are in America or Canada, we're a third through it already.  Before the 16th century, this time of the year was known as 'harvest' until people started to learn to read and write and then we started to use the old French word autumpne which became autumn in due course.

Pyracantha (orange coloured pomes) - the birds favourite, also found in red and yellows
I always thought 'fall' was a quaint word for autumn and my logic thought that it simply meant that it's when things started to fall off the trees, fruit and leaves etc., and in truth, it looks like that may be right with old Norse and German phrases being the likeliest candidates. We used to use it in Britain too apparently, but it gradually went out of use here.
Hypericum (St John's Wort)  fruit, this bush developed from seed dropped by a bird!
I guess my memories of my youth, sights, smells, occasions define what autumn means to me. I've already stated that berries and mists contribute, as does going to church with loads of food to donate to the old and needy in the community, home baked ornately decorated breads gracing the altar. In this part of the world, Hull Fair, Europe's second largest travelling fair arrives in the second week of October, as nights draw in, the first frosty mists arrive and the leaves are on the ground. Horse-chestnuts, baked potatoes, warm stews.

Cotoneaster, another bird seeded bush - related to the Pyracantha but without thorns!
The freshness of the air, the oranges and browns of the few leaves left on the trees, the occasional sunny day, warm enough for just a jumper during the middle of the day and the steam of your breath on the fresh cool evenings.

Varigated Holly (Ilex) berries
Some of the sunsets are a highlight for me, but getting wrapped up is a must - perhaps that's an age thing. And again we used the phrase - in the 'autumn of your life' and the parallels are obvious.

As a colleague and friend is keen on reminding me, only 88 days to Christmas!

Chat soon



  1. My friend Ana & I have been busy gathering from the hedgerow and making all sort of delightful things to put in our store cupboards to see us through to next year.

  2. Hi Paula
    Excellent, I hope you found some delightful produce. I miss not collecting brambles and elderberries, primarily for wine making and we used to get the kids involved in harvesting too, but they have grown up now and we hardly drink at all, so we don't indulge any more. Happy days.