There is a moment, late in each autumn, when nature tries to take the garden back. I love the garden more than ever at this point in the year. The space is at its most romantic, a little haunted perhaps, a scene of gentle, endearing chaos.
Tragically, this moment doesn't last long, a week or three at most. By November the fig leaves have fallen in one heavy crash, the hedges have collected leaves blown from the surrounding trees and the nasturtiums have given up the ghost. Within a month the garden will be asleep under a heavy covering of wet leaves and blackened annuals.
And yet, this fairy tale moment, where the garden takes on the mystery of a haunted house, gets my attention like no other time. It is now, rather than on a warm summer's evening, that I want to sit in this space, to breathe in the wine-like scent of the over-ripe grapes and blackened medlars, to feel the garden closing in on me. A time of quiet magic.