I returned from Johannesburg last night and this morning found frost on the lawn for the first time. Typical of a sunny winter’s morn, there is the slightest mist rising off the water – and autumn is still a strong presence, with the swamp cypress in the right centre not yet at its peak and various maples, cherries, sweet chestnuts and dawn redwoods contributing. The green tree left of centre is a Liquidambar formosana. It has a three-fingered leaf rather than the five of the more common L. styraciflua. Less impressive than the five-fingered tree in autumn, its virtue is the lateness of its turning, carrying autumn through into July in a good year. In the foreground the zinnias have now really gone to seed – but are contributing very fashionable ‘winter interest’ as well as ‘winter food/cover/accommodation’!