Although the grower me mourns the demise of my garden, as we move into Autumn, the artist me appreciates the glorious colours that arrive to lessen the blow, as we move towards winter. In the centre of a local village is a small triangle of green that is host to a lovingly tended flower bed, a wooden seat, flagpole and one tree ……. but what a tree! For most of the year it is lost amongst the greens of the trees across the road from it but come the autumn, it comes into its’ own and is a stand out feature as you walk towards it, clothed, as it is, in its’ autumn finery of fiery leaves. For a few brief weeks, the maple casts its’ neighbours into the shade.
As if mirroring the drama of this lone Maple, in my own garden the stand out colour amongst the fading greens and dreary browns of my dying vegetable plot, is red. Red tomatoes are hanging on to the outside plants by a thread but it’s in the greenhouse that the real drama of the season can be seen, caused by the dozens and dozens of chillies that are a vibrant red against the green and, in some cases, yellowing leaves of the parent plants, denoting their readiness for harvest.
Every few days I pick those that are ready and still there seems to be an almost endless number of green, green/red pods following on behind, now protected by a light blanket of fleece and in a race against time before even the fleece can no longer provide the protection they need, from the hard frosts which are just around the corner.
But the splashes of red are not just restricted to the vegetable plot.
Inside the advent of Autumn and its’ early nights, brings with it the warmth of candlelight and a large platter of ripe tomatoes takes centre stage on the dining room table. On the dining room windowsill the white serving dish which has been home to the harvested chillies is now full to overflowing with the most recently picked pods having to be housed in a lowly plastic mixing bowl until I can find the time to make more of the Chilli Jam which was such a hit last year……
…… whilst out of sight in my freezer three 2lb bags of whole tomatoes (6lb or 2.72kg in total) have been frozen, ready for transforming into Autumn Chutney in a week or so.