The Tuesday tree: Autumn in the woods
If I had to choose a favourite time of year to be in the woods, I think October would come a close second to May. I love seeing the leaves turning colour, the toadstools appearing, the wildflowers dying off while the leaf litter thickens underfoot. Come and see what I mean.
The light is noticeably lower than in the summer, but most of the woodland is still green, at least from a distance.
Once under the trees, though, you see how the autumn colours are creeping in. Our Spanish chestnuts started turning colour quite early, and many have lost almost half of their leaves already.
Underfoot, the forest floor is scattered with their little nuts, each in a prickly husk which has curled open like a pale green flower.
The beech boughs are a mixture of summer and autumn at the moment.
On the margins of the wood, there is plenty of fresh green growth: the incorrigible nettles are still growing happily.
Further under the trees’ shade, though, there is little greenery growing except for grass and a stem of ragwort, that scourge of pastureland. (It is poisonous to horses.)
The fungi is perfectly happy in the shade, of course, not being reliant on photosynthesis. There are toadstools under the fir trees,
under the oaks,
and under the beech.
There is even a toadstool growing out of the underside of an exposed root.
Other roots catch rainwater, of which there has been more than enough this year. Our spaniel loves to stop at this beech tree to drink the sweet water pooled in its roots.
There’s something to enjoy wherever you look.
See also The Tuesday tree: the forest floor.