At this time of year, I'm not a fan of getting up when it is still dark, but the one bonus is an hour or so later - on a clear morning - when I get to see the first rays of sunlight flood the garden.

And on some days, like this week, it strikes the tops of the trees that are in their autumn finery and fills the 'roof' of the garden with fire.

It puts such a glow in me that I felt I might as well go for a fully tangoed blog, just to celebrate nature's turn to the hot side of the spectrum.

Of course, there are the tree leaves, and few in my garden turn more russety than the leaves of the Wild Service Tree, a lovely small British native tree that deserves to be more widely planted.

The orange colours are revealed as the green chlorophyll is broken down and drawn back into the tree, revealing yellow carotene and xanthophyll pigments. However, the effect is added to by the autumn production of a red pigment called anthocyanin. This is thought to help the trees extract the last nutrients from the leaves, but also protects the old leaf from sunlight. The sunnier the autumn, the more anthocyanins are produced in response.

Meanwhile, over in the annual flower beds - which I just dig in spring, scatter some seed and leave to do their thing - the Pot Marigolds continue to blaze. They often conceal in their darker middles a range of late pollinators, such as various hoverflies or this well-camoflaged fly.

The unfortunately-named Stinking Iris, that I much prefer by its alternative name of Gladdon Lily, is now an eruption of orange berries. It only stinks if you bruise it, so I don't!

And in the pond, another native plant that I think is an absolute star is Purple Loosestrife, which after flowering for months on end in high summer, now puts on a final show as the leaves turn to orange and red.

That tickle of warmth from the autumn sun lures out another burst of orange into sheltered spots. Already sporting its thick winter coat, the braver (or more brazen) of my local Foxes can be in quite a dozy stupor, before realising that it really is time to slink off.

And the garden wouldn't be fully tangoed, of course, without this. So I'll leave you today hopefully feeling the glow, and with a song in your heart to go with it.

Anonymous