Autumn fruit and flowers
I thought this week it might be a good idea to cut down on text, and just pop up some of my illustrations of wildflowers you may still be able to find as autumn comes. All of these species are pretty widespread and common (except for the Somerset Redstreak apple and autumn crocus). Try scouring hedgerows and field margins.
Hop plant. Before they go yellow and are used for beer, they’re a bright shade of green. They grow wild sometimes in the hedges round here (Powys).
Autumn crocus are quite rare, but worth looking out for. If you do spot them there’s no question that they could be anything else; they’re quite large and look very much like the croci we see at springtime.
By now the lovely brown seedheads of the Greater reed mace are splitting open and shedding their fluffy seeds everywhere. The seeds against the brown which hasn’t split yet is really beautiful to look at.
Pretend the apple blossom isn’t there, and look out for apples which are ripening. This one’s a Somerset redstreak, and very strangely was comissioned by Hereford Cider Museum to decorate a presentation box for the Queen on her Golden Jubilee. The box contained apple brandy, just for the record.
Some knapweed are still in flower, and are a favourite with bees and bumblebees. As an aside, if you want to read an excellent book about British Bumblebees, you couldn’t do better than David Goulson’s “A Sting in the Tale”.
Unlike bell heather and a few others, this one is common everywhere on moorland. It often turns hillsides purple into September.
Meadowsweet is past its best, but in the damper and cooler shadows of hedges and walls you may be able to find some still in flower. It smells delicious.
The berries on the rowan, or mountain ash, should be almost ripe now. I’ve seen lots of these lovely trees grown in gardens as well as in improbable places on hillsides.
Autumn, The fruit trees are doing well this year, so keep an eye out for damsons in your own gardens or from trees that remain unharvested. You dont need to make them into jam, they’re delicious eaten straight from the tree like plums.
Of course, if you’re really unable to find any flowers or fruit, keep your eyes peeled for amazing autumn leaves. This one’s from a maple tree I found in Sir Harold Hillier’s Gardens in Hampshire.
Happy Autumn, everyone!