Crumpet time Posted on November 13, 2018

The last leaf on the walnut and the first crumpet by the fire. Butter, enough to reach the depths, and Marmite or honey: both (on separate crumpets). We can’t stop autumn, so let’s celebrate it – which would be easier without the racket of the infernal leaf-blowers. Could they be banned on public nuisance grounds, or taxed out of existence? Dream on… Anything that can be mechanized eventually will be – and then handed over to a robot.

Meanwhile, raking the leaves this afternoon, shaking them out of shrubs, off the climbers, into piles on the path, I mused on whether I prefer them wet or dry. It rained this morning so I had no choice, but wet leaves do have advantages. They stay put, for a start – and they are silent. The only sound (blowers next door apart) is the scratching of the rake.

Their disadvantage: they’re heavy, and having no compost heap I have to bag them and lug the heavy bags through the house. I dream of the kind of leafmould bins we had in the country…..

Indoors, bookshelves beckon. Gardening books are perennial: they don’t have to be topical: next year they’ll just be agreeably familiar. Some, indeed, I reread in a continuous rolling process. Christopher Lloyd’s Well-tempered Garden just goes round and round, and I can be lost for an evening in Peter Beales’ Roses. The revolving year, of course, is the bane of magazine editors. Repetition is inevitable; originality rare (and risky). In what other field are century-old texts still valid? Anomalies just add to their interest.

The last yellow leaves of the ‘autumn’ cherry fell today; how thrilled I was to see its slim branches spangled all over with little flowerbuds.

Hugh’s Gardening Books


Trees was first published in 1973 as The International Book of Trees, two years after The World Atlas of Wine….

Hugh’s Wine Books

Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book

I wrote my first Pocket Wine Book in 1977, was quite surprised to be asked to revise it in 1978,…

Friends of Trad

The Garden Museum