Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,–
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river swallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
– John Keats, 1795-1821
This beautiful, evocative poem has long been a favourite of mine.
As a child growing up in Scotland we had no television so we made our own entertainment and the ceilidh (community gathering) was a common winter evening activity. As well as songs and stories, people recited poems; I was always drawn to those about nature and the wild woods. This particular poem places special value on the harvest, the bounty from the garden and the hedgerow, the sounds, smells and colours of the autumn. I hope you enjoy it – maybe even read it aloud at Thanksgiving!
Autumn, of course, heralds the closing of the summer, the return to school and the pleasure of wool sweaters and hot chocolate by the fire. It has been a long, hot, dry summer on Vancouver Island and we are looking forward to some good soaking rains after three months of hot sun.
The gardens are still looking lovely with a kind of faded glory as the flowers turn to seed heads and the leaves start to turn colour.
There are even a few plants that have saved themselves till last. The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis in front of our café area has burst into glorious dramatic flowers. The petals of this showy plant make a delicious, slightly sour and cooling, refreshing tea, and when applied to the skin as a tea, they can reduce sun damage. Oddly, the petals have a long history of use as a dye for darkening the hair and also as a black polish for shoes!
We use this beautiful hibiscus in our Flower Power Tea blend, a pleasant natural sweetness that’s not cloying. It’s perfect for when you just want to relax and enjoy the autumn views.