Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Autumn arrives suddenly...

Just the other day I was reading with amusement how earnestly my blogging friends in Australia welcomed the advent of the official start of Spring. I couldn't believe that things would change dramatically overnight, as they all hoped. Now the laugh is on me: Autumn has arrived here suddenly. Since our Summer was so nondescript it was all the more obvious when the seasons turned - which was in the first couple of days of September. One day it was mild (and occasionally sunny), then it was cold, wet and windy.

I had to rush out one morning and hurriedly hammer in some wooden stakes to support my Sprouting Broccoli plants which were getting a real battering from the wind. I hadn't expected to have to do this just yet. Without these stakes the broccoli is very vulnerable, even in my relatively-sheltered garden, because it produces big leaves which have a lot of wind-resistance.

In this picture you can see not only the big healthy Broccoli plants tied to their stakes, but also, to left and right, the tiny Cavolo Nero plants slowly recovering from their earlier brush with death.

My peas are producing flowers now, although the plants are still small. They are in a hurry to set seed before the weather finishes them off.

They are going to thank me for putting up that clematis-netting to support them. Without that they would be battered down by the rain and blown over by the wind. I'm realistically not expecting to get much of a crop of peas, but just one serving for the two of us would be welcome.

My "Conference" pears are nearly ready. They have grown to their full size, so it is just a question of deciding when to pick them. Pears are often picked under-ripe and ripened indoors (don't ask me why, I don't know). This is just as well, since they too are likely to be blown off the tree if I delay much longer. I don't have a huge harvest to look forward to (a total of 12 fruit!), so every one is precious to me.

The fruits are still rock-hard, but looking back at last year I see that I harvested my pears in the first week of October, which is not that far off now, so I expect they are developing at much the same rate. I'm already fantasising about one of my favourite dishes: pears with radicchio, Roquefort cheese, and toasted walnuts.

The (annual) Summer Savory knows that its days are numbered. The plants have produced a mass of little mauve-coloured flowers, and the stems and many of the leaves have also adopted a purple hue. None of the herb is usable for culinary purposes any more - it has gone tough and woody -  but the plants look quite pretty, a little like Thyme.

Do you think it's time I gathered-in my Olive harvest?

Yes, that is it in its entirety! Impressive, eh? But then my little Olive-tree is only about three feet tall, and in any case you can't expect to get olive fruits on a tree grown in England - the climate is just not right. If you want olives, you need to go to Greece, or Italy, or Spain. [My favourite ones come from Kalamata, Greece.]


  1. I was encouraged by your olive tree. I wonder how a potted one would do here?

  2. Oh I'm feeling just a teeny weeny bit sorry for you and your cool change... but then I selfishly feel excited for me entering spring. Sorry.
    Pears. Ooh I'd love to grow them. And with cheese and walnuts yum.

  3. Just then went to visit another blog I read and they're doing a pear, walnut and blue cheese tart. I think you should give it a go.

  4. Hi Mark...I have a Conference pear reserved for spring. I'm wondering, as a fellow foodie, do you like your pear? would you choose it again?

  5. And they're already warning that in some parts there may be a frost!!!
    We've already picked and eaten some of our pears but not Conference.

  6. The weather forecast for the next 4 days in Melbourne: 22, 25, 21, 27 it is funny how quickly it does actually change but I'd hate to rub it in....I love pear, parmesan and rocket or watercress salad. Yum!

  7. Love the pear pic - but I think it might be a while before you are bottling your own olive oil. We had the warmest day we've had for ages today, I spent it bagging up my tomato plants and putting them in bin bags, thanks to the blight... But the grasses are in full autumn colour, as are the blueberries. I hope the winter isn't as vicious as last year's.

  8. We had a little taste of autumn - high's in the 50'sF. Time for some heavy lifting!


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