It's easy in this job to let the wonderful colours of autumn pass you by, as fallen leaves at work are the reason for tired arms, bad backs and general exhaustion. We are averaging between seven to nine tons a week at present, with November pretty much looking like the same.Still, with the dry summer that we have had, and now strong winds and rain, it looks like all of the leaves are going to be down by the start of December for a change.
It was while Hobie was resting in the living room, that we headed out at the weekend into our own garden to do some much needed tidying up, and I stopped for the first time to fully appreciate some leaf colour, and particularly that of our Acer japonicum Aconitifolium. We purchased it years ago for a client, but changed our minds on the planting scheme at the last minute and kept it ourselves. Not one of the more commonly seen Acers, it's colour variegation is particularly special, although even here it's just past it's best.
We cleared and burnt plenty, and had a stockpile of wood that took us into the dark evening to get rid of, whereupon we sat on a couple of chairs with some coffee, and just spent a couple of hours watching the flames as we threw the occasional piece of wood on. We chatted about autumn colour, and the simple ways in which nature creates such visual effects, and decided that before we missed it altogether because of work, we should take a day out from all of the brown and dead leaf clearing to go and see some true colour.
We settled once more on Stourhead, about an hour and a half away, and a favourite of ours.
It was a cold day, with a gentle breeze that made all of the trees shiver and shimmer, and we started our day with a walk up the tree lined drive to the house.
We both like to take the odd sneaky shot of each other, and Amanda got me trying to get a good close up of this Acer palmatum.
The main walk takes you around the large central lake, where the trees can be seen in all of there glory.
There are ever changing vistas. We had to stop for a while, as we appeared to have two families with uncontrolled children following us. Don't get me wrong, I love kids, and this is an ideal place for them to play and explore, but they were screaming at each other continually, even when only next to each other, while the oblivious parents were a couple of hundred yards in front enjoying theoir peaceful walk. So we let them get well ahead, and continued on our own peaceful journey.
Eventually, the path leads to a 260 year old grotto, with a wonderful view at water level, and two stunning marble statues inside with small waterfalls. Always a fan of marble statues, provided they are good that is, I was once spoiled by seeing some of Bernini's work at the Borgese Gallery.
First this meets the visitor, and a few minutes later there's Neptune in another setting.
When it's cold, Stourhead have someone providing basic tea, coffee or hot chocolate in this little cottage half way around the lake. Just a single room, with a flagstone floor, and a roaring log fire at one end, simplicity in itself, and so welcome.
A good place to rest and warm up a little.
The leaf colour and variety is quite staggering.
Even different varieties of Cotinus provide a delicate opaque beauty.
No Amanda, not that way!
Shades of green and yellow.
Pink and red.
And eventually the return path back to the house.
And I did manage to get a shot of that red Acer palmatum at the beginning.
Different shades of shimmering brown.
The day had been a welcome respite from the heavy workload, but alas all good things come to an end, and 'another day, another dollar' as they say. It was a wet week, and in the clip below we had just spent three and a half hours clearing leaves in this weather before finally getting in the van to draw breath and head home.