Here comes Autumn

Its October 11th 2017, the late summer weather is fading and with the first of the leaves turning colour at the end of September and high wind today, the first of the serious leaf fall is commencing and autumn is creeping forward.

Plants of interest at the Forest Garden at this moment include; “Crab apple Rose hip” with its brilliant orange fruit which has been looking good for the last 5 weeks. Some of the fruit looks almost too good to be real. It serves as an excellent pollinator to other apple trees nearby and its fruit, as their sugar level continues to rise, is just about ready to eat and certainly could be included in a fruit salad. My instinct, from having previously tasted crab apple wine, tells me that these fruits would make a good wine too.

The last of the blackberry cultivars “Thorne free” are still managing to ripen some fruit, and as a recent visitor said of the 25mm diameter fruits, “These taste like red wine”.  These plants are primo canes meaning they will flower on the current year’s growth. Indeed last year’s growth was cut down in April and it has managed to grow 6 metres in length, flowered and have been fruiting since mid-September; simply amazing!

Finally, for now, the plant of the month is the “Chilean guava”. It’s the last of the summer/autumn soft fruits. This plant, now in its 4th year, has over 300 very tasty red berries of approximately 8mm in diameter on it. The taste is not dissimilar to that of a strawberry flavoured Opal fruit or Starburst. This was reputed to be Queen Victoria’s favourite fruit, allegedly grown in Cornwall and sent to London for her consumption. Some forms of this plant can make a good hedge up to a metre high.