Caryn Hibbert, Founder and Creative Director of Thyme reflects on country living throughout the year.
The autumnal equinox, the day when the sun passes over the celestial equator from the northern to the southern hemisphere, has passed. We can now feel a chill in the air with rapidly diminishing hours of daylight and colder night temperatures. It is for both these reasons that our deciduous woodland trees shed their leaves. Chlorophyll, responsible for the vivid greens of summer is the pigment in leaves that together with sunlight, water and carbon dioxide produce oxygen and carbohydrates, food for the tree to store and to grow. However, as the hot bright rays of summer sunshine change to the watery long low rays of winter there is not enough energy in the sunlight to make this chemical reaction effective. Instead, the tree begins to break down the chlorophyll and this is why we see the wonderful colour changes in autumn leaves. It is these patterns and colours of nature that inspired our Bertioli Autumn Leaves collection of linens; the glorious yellows, oranges, reds and browns of fallen leaves help us to bring nature inside and embrace the darker nights of autumn.
We can delight in the changing season. There is nothing more lovely than a roaring fire, outside and in. Wrap up to stay warm, decorate the tables with pumpkins, squash, apples, quince and medlars. Autumn is all about harvesting and storing the fruits of the summer sunshine, for as they say in Game of Thrones, ‘winter is coming’. Charlie Hibbert, my son and Chef Director at Thyme has been enjoying early morning walks in our productive vegetable garden; a constant source of inspiration for the autumnal menus in both the Ox Barn restaurant and The Swan.
Hearty braises, steamy puddings and hardy winter vegetables complimented by colourful table decorations thanks to our outrageous dahlias which, with a bit of luck, will last all throughout the autumn. It was this splash of celebratory autumnal colour that first inspired me to design the Dahlia linen, part of the Bertioli Autumn Leaves collection.
Autumn is, of course, the beginning of a harsh time for wildlife. Making the garden friendly for small mammals with a few piles of sticks and leaves in the corner and leaving perennial seed heads to stand proud in the winter garden all helps. Some choose to stay and others choose to leave for warmer climes and guaranteed abundant food and sunshine. Neither choice is an easy one; for our migrant birds the journey from the meadows and woodlands of England to sub-Saharan Africa is fraught with danger and increasingly more so with climate change presenting more extreme weather cycles and expansion of the Sahara Desert.
This November, we are looking forward to hosting The Golden Thread, an exhibition of work by the artist Jemma Powell who was inspired by the migratory birdlife which links the water meadows at Thyme to Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as Jemma’s recent travels in Kenya as an ambassador for Tusk. This exhibition, in collaboration with Cricket Fine Art, will be on view in the Tithe barn at Thyme from 10 November – 7 January. 25% from the sales of all works will go to Tusk. Our support of Tusk will be continued in an exhibition hosted by the Art for Charity Collective in The Swan opening on the 22 November and culminating in a live auction hosted by the singer Jack Savoretti on 11 December. This exhibition will feature original artwork by a selection of the Collectives artists, some of which have been inspired by the gardens of Thyme.