Can it really be autumn already?

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was waxing lyrical about the snowdrops and now?  Well, now it’s the autumn colours that are making the National Botanic Garden of Wales a site worth visiting.

I was there yesterday, which was a fairly grey day, and I went out with my camera  after we had eaten our sandwiches on a bench outside the Great Glasshouse and had a good panoramic view over the Garden down towards the Tropical House.  What struck me was how colourful it is. It’s some time since I last wrote a blog so I thought I’d go out and look around.  I went to the Aqualab by way of the Broadwalk, to do a job with my fellow volunteer, Carol.  After we had finished I made my way back via the Japanese Garden and the Double Walled Garden and was amazed at how colourful it still is.  Not only were the trees showing their lovely colours but there were lots of other things to look at.

Gallery not found. Please check your settings.We do tend to concentrate on the trees in the autumn but I was pleasantly surprised at how many flowers were about.  Those of you who come often to the Garden will know that it is not easy to see it all in one day and I didn’t have very long so there is a lot more to see that I didn’t get to.  The acers always look good but so do the tulip trees, and in the Wallace Garden the brassicas are spectacular in their variety, ranging from green to deep, deep purple.  Even the ferns, as they die back, show a lovely rusty brown.   The dahlias, too, are in gorgeous colours and always remind me of my Grandad who used to grow them on his allotment.

One disappointment this year is the lack of conkers.  The tree, which grows in the children’s play area and sheds its leaves and conkers over the car park, is usually a good source for them.  Normally, we take care not to park beneath its branches for fear of denting the car but this year there is no need to worry.  Other years we have not been able to walk without treading on conkers, there have been literally hundreds.  This year I have seen none at all.  What a shame.   I haven’t looked for acorns but I will!

Gallery not found. Please check your settings.I didn’t look at Pont Felin Gat or at the Apothecary’s Garden or, indeed many other areas of the Garden, but the very little bit that I did look at was full of rainbow colours.   Some are bright, some are pale, some rich, some muted, but they are there.   I try not to think of autumn as a time when everything is finishing but more of a time when nature is gathering its strength ready to fight off the winter cold and get ready for the spring.   I think perhaps we may need to do the same.

Pam Murden

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