There are leaves scattered on the grass. September is a time of change. It is a time when people leave and scatter. This is a natural process, one I, as others do, have to learn to live with. Change can be a forward movement, exciting, often nerve wracking but energising too.
We’re in the middle of a ‘tropical plume’ as the radio DJ called it – very warm this week but today there’s a smirr of rain. It does bring out the shades of green in the garden. After seven years it’s a much more mature garden.
The sunflower peeps over the fence, hopefully making our neighbours smile. Usually I plant the seeds in the vegetable bed so we see the sunflower’s bright, cheery faces too.
This year our small vegetable plot has really been taken over by the giant muppet-like monster that is the comfrey. I am totally taken with it – the bees have loved it. Apparently after a bee has drunk the nectar, the flower produces new nectar in two minutes. I’ve used the torn up comfrey leaves as slow releasing feed, ripped up on the base of the tomatoes plants and in the bottom of planting holes and, as the plant itself likes to do, I’ve spread the message far and wide!
A giant pompom dahlia flower is bobbing its head at me from over in the corner, chatting to the enormous daisies which were a gift from a friend. The garden has a wild, overgrown look at the moment but I much prefer the soft lines of this to one that is too clipped and severe. It reminds me of the Oscar Wilde fairytale of the Selfish Giant.
Are there any particular flowers you love in your garden?
I am reading ‘The Salt Path’ by Raynor Winn and the poems of Emily Dickinson.
September the start of the new academic year but the end of the summer, the seasons sweep me along, caught in the rise and fall of the tide of time. I am excited, new beginnings, time to tidy the garden after the fullness of summer, time to pare down, to cut back and move on. Time to let go but also to plan.
Taking the time to watch the bees and butterflies.
I’ve learned of the importance of the change of seasons on physical health, to me it has an immense bearing on mental health too. We move, behave, react to the natural rhythms of the seasons, the tides of the year.
Yesterday I watched the swallows balancing on the line, today I’ll search for the glistening September spider webs.
It is a beautiful morning. The honeysuckle (Lonicera Caprifolium) has grown over the fence and this year we could smell the delicate fragrance drifting on the summer evenings as we passed through the gate.
Now small perfect cherry-red berries have emerged, plump and juicy, a feast for the birds. Sunshine illuminates it on the morning side; the east. The west will have to wait for later in the day to feel the full glow of the light. To sit at the kitchen table and look out of the window at greenery has been my aim since we moved here, it’s getting there.
A garden, like everything else, takes time.
I am reading Guardians of the Wild Unicorns by Lindsay Littleson and Swimming with Seals by Victoria Whitworth.
Tadpoles! We have tadpoles in our wee wildlife pond! I think there’s a newt and many minibeasts we’ve yet to name.
Watching the birds visiting the pond has helped us enormously in this life of lockdown.
I’d have never believed how useful the steps of the pond are. They’ve had the tiny feet of bluetits, robins and blackbirds stepping down them like the owl hopped down the books in Bagpuss. Two dunnocks tailed each other along the pond edge darting back and forth.
As I write a pigeon is emerging from the long grass beside the pond, waddling about, ducking its head watching, watching before dipping in.
And we try to count the tadpoles; twelve, thirteen? Who knows?
One visitor to the garden I’m afraid I don’t welcome quite so much are snails. I’ve supplied them with too many tasty dinners! That doesn’t stop me admiring their beautiful shells or their ability to travel and sneak into my little polytunnel and greenhouse.
I’ve just finished reading the book ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr. It opened my eyes to the scientific beauty of snails but still …
” COME ! ” said Old Shellover.
” What?” says Creep.
” The horny old Gardener’s fast asleep;
The fat cock Thrush
To his nest has gone;
And the dew shines bright
In the rising Moon;
Old Sallie Worm from her hole doth peep:
Come!” said Old Shellover.
” Ay!” said Creep.
Nothing is so beautiful as spring – Gerard Manley Hopkins
Birds are singing. Landing on the fencepost they pause, check all is clear, dart to the feeder and back to the post in the blink of an eye. A robin, blue tits, chaffinches. Magpies launch themselves at the fat ball holder, blackbirds peck at fallen seeds. Two pigeons, one fat, one thin, drink from the pond.
Flowers are opening, welcoming the sun. Crocuses, hellebores, cowslip, primroses. The tulips are appearing, still wrapped up tightly.
Glossy green leaves of the Laurel gleam in the shining sunlight.
The first giant bumblebee of the year buzzes past my ear.
Frog spawn wobbles in the pond and we stop to watch two woodpeckers on our walk.
Spring is here. The seasons roll on.
Wishing you all good health and peace.
I am reading ‘The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland’ by Catherine M.Valentine
I never think of myself as a non-fiction reader and yet here I am, having recently finished reading Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ and one of my favourite summer reads this year was ‘Robbing The Bees’ by Holley Bishop. It’s a mixture of fact and fiction (faction, narrative non-fiction?) published in 2005 and hugely enjoyable.
The thing is though, it only heightened my wish to have bee hives. I’m like a child who wants a pet and is not thinking at all about the practicalities.
One of the things I love about going to farmshops and summer fairs is the chance to buy local honey and after reading Bishop’s book I’ve been left thinking that I should eat more honey, with all its health benefits. In fact I think I’m going to try to have a spoonful of honey every day. What a lovely thought!
I went away on holiday for two weeks. This must be every gardener’s dilemma, do I go on holiday just when the garden is looking good, when so much growth is happening, so many raspberries to pick, tomatoes to water? I’ve read as much as I can about looking after plants when I go away, I try my best then just have to hope.
Inevitably I return and spend happy moments with my head in the flowerbeds examining the growth and appreciating the lushness of Nature laid out before me. Yes, some fruit has gone over but there are ripe juicy raspberry bubbles left to pick and savour on my meanderings. There are potatoes to dig up, bursting up through the tongs of my fork from their hiding place in the dark, crumbling soil.
Not everything is rosy, my Kilmarnock willow looks distinctly sad, the wildflower patch didn’t take off as well as last year but I’m learning. It’s worth giving it a go, plant the seeds, they might grow.
Stunning cornflowers, starfaced borage, blousy lilies welcome me home and I have returned, inspired, fresh faced and with enthusiasm.
Cornflowers (grown from seed I collected last year- I’m so pleased about that!) and Borage.