|Author: John Sanders||Published: 15th October 2008 12:28|
If the weather is kind to us, not too much rain and strong winds, the countryside gives us many beautiful autumn colours on the trees. But with today's warmer weather we don't get the sudden crisp frost that causes the leaves to change colour overnight. Fortunately some trees, particularly the acers still reward our eyes with outstanding colour.
There is one particular acer tree in Drayton Park, near the entrance from Lower Drayton Lane, that is a striking sight to see at this time of the year. See the pictures.
Even in our gardens the autumn provides some fine-looking colour. This euonymus allata grows in my front garden. It doesn't do much until autumn, its leaves are small, the flowers tiny and insignificant, but come the autumn, it comes into its own as per the picture.
There are signs that Drayton is developing a Mediterranean climate this autumn. For the first time I have managed to grow some olives outdoors. Not an outstanding crop like the olive oil adverts on television, but even so, an achievement for me. My crop totals two olives of edible size which in a few days I will sample. The small trees have flowered before but never born fruit so this is a good year. Several of the flowers set but the olives did not develop. Can you see the olive near the centre of the picture?
I love a nice glass of cabernet sauvignon with my roast beef but again my grape crop won't make enough. Even so, the vine has been growing for six years and is now beginning to produce grapes of a better size. This is due to the vine beginning to mature. Quite severe pruning every spring and controlling the growth of the leaders during the summer has helped considerably. The grapes may not be enough to make wine but they taste delicious even after this poor summer with very little sunshine.
I have another vine that produces white grapes towards the end of August beginning of September. They taste delightful like the Italian muscatel grapes and is not such a vigorous grower as the cabernet sauvignon.
If you have a garden on the south facing slopes of Portsdown Hill it may well be a good place to grow some grape vines. Can you imagine a co-operative producing Chateau Portsdown Wine?