Leaves continue to dominate my imagination as the trees are gradually stripped by the cold of the last vestiges of summer life. Yet despite this increasing cold there are occasional outbursts of life from flowers and insects. Then as the month draws to a close the snow begins to make a reappearance, confirming the year as one of the coldest and snowiest I have known in London

In the coming year I try to reflect back on each month through the medium of writing a poem, but within eight months I leave London in the midst of the 2012 riots and complete my documentary of a London garden in the very different environment of mid-Wales


November 1

November starts and it feels immediately as if winter is shifting into gear, there is a cold freshness in the air and all the leaves are now turning

November 2

Everywhere my eyes turn towards the leaves. The ash leaves patterning the lawn. The yellow Mulberry leaves brightening the dark spaces beneath the tree's looming form. And the medlar tree turning its dark corner into a vibrant yellow. In the wilderness Sycamore leaves are still hanging on and hawthorn is turning yellow, but the cherry is turning a deep, dark red


November 4

The leaves continue to fascinate. Beneath the Mulberry tree they continue to pile up, but the lime trees are now nearly bare and their leaves now cover the ground only very sparsely. In the wilderness a carpet of damson leaves make a very different pattern. The flowers are now nearly all gone but a few late daisies still protrude

November 15

Returning from a weeks holiday the Mulberry tree is now looking very bare, its bark showing very black against the few remaining yellow leaves. But on the sheltered side of the tree some leaves are still green and it will be some time before the tree is entirely bare, I think. Elsewhere the garden is cold and damp with wet leaves plastering the lawn. Two crows chased each other acrobatically around church and it felt for a moment as if I was back on Dartmoor watching the ravens!


November 16

Eventually a half decent picture of a great spotted woodpecker which is a frequent visitor to the garden. Facilitated, of course, by the trees being nearly bare of leaves. A glorious bright day and an exotic plant whose name I don't know is in full bloom with strange white flowers, smothered with insects as if it was lavender in mid-summer.

November 19

Yesterday cold and very wet. The leaves wet and sticky. Today a bright sun but everything still very damp. Here and there sparks of life in the dying drabness. Remarkable bright purple berries. A small sapling with yellow leaves bright against the dark earth. A few flowers still blooming on the holly tree. And the flies still clustering around the strange bush with a white flowers and basking on the white wood next to it.


November 23

The Sycamore leaves are becoming more dominant on the lawn, but they are dowdy compared to the huge bright yellow Mulberry leaves and the feathery ash leaves. Today a very loud male voice coming from the school "five... four... three... two... one... freeze!" Then resounding "What did I say to you! What did I say to you!"

November 24

Cold today. Frost on the ground lingering in sheltered patches into midmorning

November 25

The cold continues and it is bringing all the leaves off the Mulberry tree. On the ground they are frozen and beautiful

November 28

The end of my garden journey approaches as snow is threatening. Walking out into the garden today I find that the Jays have reappeared, two of them hunting through the Mulberry tree now completely bare. I could approach quite closely before they flew up into the trees. Then going round the back of the Mulberry tree I found what had attracted them someone had thrown a packet of carrot batons (50p from Tesco) onto the lawn. The yellow leaves of the Mulberry have now turned a leathery brown and are thickly carpeting the ground beneath it where the frost finally finished them off. Coming back round the tree I found myself greeted by a robin, perched perkily on the lower branches.


November 30

My final day and the snow comes. Although my journey didn't begin in snow it feels as if it did and although it wasn't as heavy as it was in January it still left a decent covering. I leave with my footsteps showing the path I have taken many times over the past year...


Black buds tight as wood
swelled in the swelling of the year
and unfurled tender green
Stretching in their boyhood
they reach round, close and near
to cloak
where birds sing and preen
Now aging on that dark wood
they turn tier on tier
and soak
yellow in sun sharp and lean