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I remember in my school days learning a poem by Thomas Hood about November, which was rather gloomy, ending with the words: ‘No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, no fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! – November!’ I think he must have been having a bad day because for me there are many lovely things about November; vivid sunsets, starry nights (at a time when one is awake to see them!) homemade soups, calls of Tawny owls and always the busy bird table to watch outside the kitchen window. In the countryside hedgerows are full of berries and everywhere colourful Autumn leaves still cling on to many trees.

When worries seem to haunt my thoughts it is often the rhythm of the changing seasons that brings a sense of continuity as uncertainties creep in. A change of month always brings something new as well as the return of familiar but half-forgotten things; this month may see the return of scarves, boots, mashed potato, stews, thick jumpers and hot water bottles!

And then there’s Christmas! I have just added quite a few sale packs of Christmas cards from my old stock which I hope might be helpful. After Christmas, as a gardener, I think of Spring and start to buy my seeds knowing those sunny warm days with blossom and daffodils will be coming round again before very long.

(Photo taken last November at RHS Harlow Carr)


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