Sunday, 31 October 2010

Garden Memories

The foliage all around the garden and in the woods across the road are shouting "Hi!, it's Autumn!! I love this time of the year. Those colours! not to mention the numerous opportunities to shuffle through piles of leaves; who can resist?  Here at home, I have a great view of the woods on the opposite side of the valley, particularly from the top of The Field. At this time of year, if you get a good sunrise, there's an explosion of oranges, reds and yellows as the sun hits the trees.  I've not yet managed to take a decent photo of this but if you look at this photo and imagine it being much better in quality and colour, you'll get some idea of what I'm talking about.

This will be the first autumn that I'll be able to get into the field.  In previous years I've concentrated on creating the lawn and borders and haven't had time to do much to the field - especially with the last two wet summers we've had - hence the photos of tall weeds and wildflowers in my slideshow.  But this year I've managed to keep on top of the strimming and it'll be great to get into the field properly and see the colours change in my own garden.  Hopefully I can have one or two bonfires. That smell of burning wood takes me straight back to my childhood and grandpa's garden where he'd have a bonfire after pruning the roses and raking up the dead leaves.

I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't have a memory of time spent in a garden.  Whether it's a childhood memory of playing with friends, building dens, planting seeds or of your first family garden watching your own children playing with the dog or running around on a hot summers day with the hosepipe on!

Garden memories are playing a big part in my work at the moment.  I'm involved in a project that is re-connecting older people with dementia, living in care homes, with their communities.  Using the outdoor environment at the care home as the place to create those opportunities through activities and events.  I've spent hours talking to residents, finding out what elements and features make a good garden, how it makes them feel (in it's present state) and how they would like to use it if they could make more use of it.  I've involved care staff and relatives to find out how the garden can support their work or make their visits more meaningful.   The stories and memories that have been shared show just how much we are all connected to the outdoor environment and nature, even if we lose our short term memory or are unaware of that connection during our hectic, daily lives.  We feel more relaxed when we've spent time in the garden, we sleep better when we've had a few hours out in the fresh air.  We go for walks to be on our own, to 'sort our heads out', make life-changing decisions or to spend time with people who are important in our lives, sharing our favourite places with them and making new memories all the time.

I spent yesterday afternoon with a group residents from a couple of the care homes involved in the project, all with dementia, and their care staff.  Friday afternoon we carved pumpkins together with some local children; making silhouettes of bats, moons and stars, cats and Jack o' lantern faces.  Conversations struck up about who had or hadn't tasted pumpkin soup, about who's had the scariest face or the most pointed teeth or the best bat outline! Yesterday, we took those pumpkins to Trerice, a National Trust property near Newquay, where we entered them into a 'Best Carved Pumpkin' Competition.  First, Second and Third prizes all went to delighted residents and they received a jar of pumpkin chutney and a bag of daffodils each.  We had a quick wander around before the rain drove us in to the Tea Room (not much persuasion was needed to get them into there!).  We'll be planting the bulbs shortly in the garden at the home.  Hopefully some of the relatives and people in the community will get involved as well.

This morning I finally got time to carve my own pumpkin which was very quickly joined by a pumpkin that's either manically depressed or is based on The Scream! Carved beautifully by my friend and fellow blogger Envirobitch who's over from Australia at the moment.  They'll be out on the windowsill later scaring small children but hopefully not causing the traffic to swerve or brake!

Happy Howloween one and all!


Dancin' Fool said...

Excellent Pumpkins! And lets face it they should look scary, that's the whole point, none of this making them look cute thing!!!!

I really enjoyed reading your post, you are obviously a natural writer and seem to have taken to blogging like a fish to water!

So we had all the fungi books out last night and are narrowing it down, there are a few sap fungi that look like yours and as they always look slightly different, dependant on their own environmental stimuli, its proving a challenge but we are enjoying it! I have to say you really did take the most brilliant pictures to aid our search and have recorded everything we need.

We looked online to get as many examples of the suspects as we could but people are bloomin terrible for posting pictures and labeling them wrong. If you look up the Spring Field-Cap, Agrocybe praecox, which is one of the suspects at present, there are pictures of hundreds of the incorrect fungus, stuff that in no way on this earth resembles an Abrocybe!

Thanks for the challenge! We will let you know our decision in due course!!

Have a fab week bud, BYE!

Sensory Dragon said...

Sorry for the challenge! Hope you didn't have too many sweets left over from Trick or Treat. I'm lucky coz I only get the two girls from next door coming round. one was a scary fairy this year and the other was a devil ( a last minute change as she wanted to go out as a Black Rider from Lord of the Rings but they couldn't find a cape and hood long enough!). Good hunting on the mushroom ID! and thanks again.

Claire said...

Well done getting the first, second and third prizes!