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Why you should make the most of an Indian summer

An Indian summer: what is it and how can you gain maximum benefit from a warm autumn?

We know the phrase and we hope to get one. Or have we had it already? What on earth is an Indian summer and why do people crave to get one?

indian summer, sunshine, october weather, september sunshine, outdoors, make the most, enjoy the garden, perfectplants.co.uk, Sunshine, beautiful colours and warmth. What more could one wish for in autumn?

The wording seems to date back to the 18th century but it didn’t appear to arrive in England until the 19th century during the heyday of the British Raj in India.

british raj, east india company, india, indian elephant, raj, indian summer, perfectplants.co.uk, The British Raj in India refers to the years between 1858 and 1947. Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in 1876.

Native Americans

But the terminology, Indian summer, actually relates to the Native Americans rather than the subcontinent of India. It could be a reference to these people, who were once termed ‘Indians’, living on America’s eastern coast. They relied upon long summers in order to continue hunting and gathering their crops so that they could survive the winter more easily. So, an Indian summer, with prolonged sunny and still conditions, aided their survival.

cowboys and indians, native americans, American Indians, columbus, christopher columbus, history of America, indian summer, The Native Americans are still frequently called Indians or American Indians. This makes reference to the belief of Columbus, after first landing in America. He thought he had arrived in India and therefore called the locals Indians.

It's got to be good!

Of course, an Indian summer has many more connotations, not least making reference to a period of happiness or maybe success which is enjoyed later in life. Whatever it refers to, it’s a Good Thing. So, let’s hope we get one.

happiness, indian summer, autumn, weather, sunshine, be happy, good fortune, enjoying life, perfectplants.co.uk, Enjoy happiness when it can be grasped. Whether this concerns an Indian summer or a piece of good fortune, it's all worth appreciating to the fullest extent.

Warm weather in October is likely to prolong the holiday season: encouraging people to visit beaches and seaside towns where they will spend more money. People tend to go out and about in the sunshine and that’s got to be good for everyone, including cafes, bars, restaurants and gift shops. It also prolongs the undeniably spectacular autumn tree colour, and nobody could possibly object to that.

cafe, indian summer, outdoors, eating out, going to the beach, october, september weather, perfectplants.co.uk, The outdoors is so appealing during an Indian summer.

The forecast for October 2018

According to the Met Office, we can expect a warm and settled autumn during October and even into November. So indeed, an Indian summer seems to be in the bag, just when you thought it was all over.

indian summer, september, october, weather, 2018, sunny weather, warm spell, perfectplants.co.uk, Enjoy the sunshine in late September and October - we're having an Indian summer!

The warmest temperature recorded in the UK for October was 29.9 Centigrade in Gravesend, Kent, during 2011. Whilst we can’t promise to equal the height of this amazement, it does seem as if we will be able to bask in mild daytime temperatures which will enable outdoor fun to continue, long into the depths of autumn and even early winter. This has the bonus effect of making winter seem shorter. In other words, it is likely to be all downhill to spring.

 The joys of autumn

autumn, leaves, autumn leaf colour,  september 2018, october 2018, indian summer, uk weather, perfectplants.co.uk, The mellow tints of autumn should be enjoyed to their fullest extent.

For some, autumn is the very best time of year, albeit with melancholy overtones. It’s undeniable that the spirit slows during a period when the rhythm of nature is easing towards dormancy. People spend more time indoors, often around the fireside if they are lucky enough to have one. The nights are long, so cosy homes during the chill of dark nights become hugely appealing. Gone is the temptation to spend more time than might be practical outdoors in the evenings, at the expense of cooking, resting and even sleeping.

woodburning stove, fire, cosy home, heat, warmth, autumn, indian summer, winter, indoors, perfectplants.co.uk, A real log fire is heartwarming! It feels so cosy indoors during autumn and winter evenings,

The re-beautifying of nature's mantle

Outdoors during bright, dry days, the countryside is becoming more flamboyant with each passing day. It feels like a period of re-beautifying as the tired greens and greys of summer are replaced with reds, oranges, yellows and burnished gold. It’s as if the leaves are being re-invented and re-born with an intense vibrance even more brilliant than at their birth.

autumn leaves, burnished gold, copper, reds and oranges, blazing foliage, autumn, indian summer, autumn colour, It's as if the leaves are being re-invented during autumn as they take on a completely different appearance.

There are smells, sounds and sights which evoke memories, moods and pleasures associated only with the time of year. Wood smoke; autumn mist; frost; the crunch of leaves and the echoing sound of rutting deer and calling pheasants. The unmistakable feeling of autumn can be a most wonderful thing, including the more muted light levels which make for brilliant photos.

What about the plants?

An Indian summer will bring a few problems, of course. Confused plants can be tricked into thinking it’s spring and they will put on new, soft growth and produce blooms.

indian summer, late blooms, flowers, frost, garden plants, gardening, garden, frost damage, perfectplants.co.uk, Garden plants can feel confused at unseasonably warm weather and be tricked into thinking that spring's arrived early.

Cold nights will inevitably ravage the vulnerable shoots and the damage can sometimes affect the entire plant. You might need to give your most precious plant babies some extra t.l.c. as they adjust to the pleasure of unexpected warmth. It’s beauty which is tinged with sadness. We know it can’t last – but that’s all the more reason to enjoy every moment.

Make the most of the light evenings

The light is fading outdoors, but you can prolong the pleasure of dusk by lighting up some lanterns.

Here's a few suggestions

(click on the photos for product information):

vintage style, string of lights, garden lighting, solar lighting, garden, autumn lanterns, lantern, perfectplants.co.uk, This vintage-style string of garden lights is powered by solar. Perfect for an Indian summer!
hurricane lamp, garden lantern, lantern, wooden tealight, gardening, lights, perfectplants.co.uk, This wooden, hurricane style lamp has an integral tube to stabilise the candle flame, and a mirror to reflect the flickering light.
star ball, star lantern, garden lantern, terracotta lantern, garden lighting, tealight, terracotta, perfectplants.co.uk, These terracotta star ball lanterns just need a tealight candle. They can be stacked or used singly in the garden. Available in several different sizes.
flickering candle, led candle, garden lantern, battery operated candle, garden lighting, perfectplants.co.uk, Some garden lanterns don't even need a candle. These are battery operated, with an integral timer, and the effect provides a flickering candle for the garden.