When the Virginia Creeper turns this colour, there’s no more hiding from the truth – autumn is here. Then when the clocks go back to Greenwich Mean Time and the evenings become darker and darker, the winter woollies come out. It has been such a beautiful summer that it’s hard to let go, but October has its compensations. For one thing, it’s my birthday month. Here are some birthday flowers, still going strong after three weeks – it’s very cold in our drawing room!