Summer may be over but all is not doom and gloom.
The swallows are departing for warmer climes and who can blame them, I wish I was too! But for those without feathers and forced to remain behind, there is some consolation. The hedgerows are teeming with bountiful boughs of cob nuts, an abundance of sloes and brambles with blackberries the size of grapes; it is a fantastic year for foraging. Going for a walk is no longer an idle stroll through the fields, but a frenzied harvesting mission, resulting in plentiful pickings, armed with only a basket.
This Autumn’s funghi is exceptionally diverse; we have been feasting on larch boletes, field and parasol mushrooms and the much prized chanterelles, that I have found in much greater numbers than usual. There are fantastical rings of fairytale toadstools, huge white amoebic like forms spreading over the compost heap, entire fields carpeted in puffballs and other extraordinary things that I have never seen before. However be careful, and only eat funghi that you can positively identify. I know of two people, one a mycologist and the other, a ‘Ray Mears survival type’, who both suffered near death experiences as the result of eating a misidentified form of funghi
My annuals are almost over, however I can still pick a small bunch of sweetpeas, or fill a vase with the remaining c. What gives me even greater joy is to raid the hedgerows, and create an autumnal bouquet with glistening elderberries, rosy red rosehips, and oak branches encrusted with acorns. Not only is it a thing of great beauty but it is completely free.