by Matt Noyce, Head Gardener at Quarr Abbey.
Seasonal weather shifts are now becoming apparent as we turn the corner into Autumn and embrace the winds and the cooler weather that it brings.
The changing colour of the leaves is a sure sign that we are entering a new season, and one that will soon temporarily change the landscape of Quarr.
There are some wonderful leaf colours around at this time of year: Liquidambar styraciflua Parrotia, Sorbus, Cotinus and Euonymus to name but a few, all of which offer beautiful displays. Then of course comes the clear-up operation to collect the leaves and make them useful once again, as mulch to put onto beds and borders.
In the orchards, we are continuing to gather in our apple and pear crop with added assistance from a local school. The fruit is divided between the Abbey kitchen and the Abbey store room and once these are full, we will take the remainder for pressing into apple juice and cider to be sold in our farm shop. It has been a good year for top fruit (apples and pears) so there should be enough to keep everyone happy.
There is still produce being harvested from the vegetable plot as we press on to make the plot ever more productive by growing throughout the colder months. We sow and plant varieties of crops that will tolerate the winter weather both under plastic and outside in the elements. This provides a regular supply of fresh produce for the Quarr Abbey community throughout the winter season.
In and around the beds and borders, we have been pruning back any finished herbaceous perennials, pruning our bush roses to reduce the likelihood of ‘windrock’ and whipping round with the mower and strimmer when it’s dry to keep the grass in check.
Elsewhere on the Quarr estate we have been berry picking. This year has been another good one for soft fruits. Many have found their way into our jams and chutneys room to be preserved and sold at a later date. The taste of summer berries spread on warm toast on a chilly autumnal morning is definitely something to look forward to…
Pictures by Matt Noyce.