Panier of Plenty

Autumn arrives

With every footfall, dozens of grasshoppers scatter. Much of
the grass is still scorched after summer, yet tender new shoots
are pushing their way through. The field across the road is
filled with dry prickly thistles; everything has spikes. The
wild roses have lost their leaves and the rosehips deepen in
colour, the hawthorn bushes are smothered in berries, wild
apple trees are laden and the prunelles (sloe berries) are
nearly ripe. This year, blackberries are abundant after the
early summer rains. The chestnut trees are laden as the first
autumn leaves fall, suddenly, as if the change happened overnight.

In the potager, we are harvesting potatoes, onions and pumpkins,
as the melons (Cavaillon and Charentais) finish. Tomatoes are still
slow to ripen – they are coming in stages this year as opposed to
being prolific – there are not yet enough for winter preserves.
The courgettes and cucumbers are coming to an end, yet there is
also ‘renewal’ as the passionfruit vine climbing the potting
shed is in flower for the first time, purple asters appear in
clusters and attract dozens of butterflies, morning glory flowers
open and the evening primrose finally takes off.

Last autumn is still so vivid it is hard to imagine a year has now
passed, yet there are significant differences as the equinox
officially marks the change of season. Whether it is ‘climate change’
or fickle weather patterns, the blackberries are more than a month
later than usual, the almond and quince trees have hardly produced,
figs have fallen, unripe, and the growth cycles of most of our
vegetables were cut short with such a late start to summer – life
on the mountainside requires constant adaptation in response to the
ever-changing conditions.

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This entry was published on September 22, 2013 at 9:35 pm. It’s filed under Climate Change, Country Life, Country Living, Environment, Europe, Expat, France, French Culture, Garden, La Vie Quotidienne, Landscape, Languedoc Roussillon, Leisure, Life, Lifestyle, Mediterranean, Nature, Pyrénées, Rural Life, Seasons, South of France, Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

5 thoughts on “Autumn arrives

  1. Such beautiful descriptions of the ever changing face of Mother Nature. Saddened to hear some of those delicious fruits and vege didn’t quite reach their full potential, but no doubt you will enjoy the fruits of your labour sometime sooner than later!

    • Hi Alice, hope you are enjoying the wonderful spring produce coming on the market and the pleasures of your little garden. We have an abundance of tomatoes now – there is always something to compensate for any losses, like planty of blackberries this year! Bon appétit, Vivienne

  2. Wonderful description that makes us certainly feel the crunch under foot! How lovely to have the first passionfruit flower ! 🙂

    • Dear Pugland, I do find it strange to be in the opposite season here after so many years in an Antipodean climate… no fruit yet on the passionfruit but I think the flowers are such a perfect example of the astounding geometry of nature… enjoy spring!!

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