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.
I bought cornflower seeds in the spring, planted them, was truly amazed when they grew so well and then continued to flower for weeks and weeks.
Now I know what they mean when authors write ‘eyes of cornflower blue’.
They reminded my Mum of when she was a child.
I took photos, lots of them.
Bees, butterflies, hoverflies all visited my little wildflower garden.
Finally I collected the seeds. Tiny little shaving brushes. I’d remembered what the seeds looked like from when I sowed them. Quite different to anything I’d seen before.
So all in all a real success. I’m very glad I bought that one little packet of seeds. It was quite relaxing, sitting at the kitchen table sorting them out. Now they’re carefully stored and I’m looking forward to planting them next year.
Yet the borage, geraniums and cornflowers are still blooming. They’re not giving in yet!
Many times over the past month I’ve walked into a room thinking I’ve left a light on only to find it’s the warm, golden sun streaming through the windows.
It may be starting to get colder but the beauty of the autumnal light and the bright burning colours of the leaves are a real gift.
Mother Nature is teaching us again. Who else reminds us day by day, minute by minute to appreciate what we have before it is gone? Always with the reassurance that bright days will return.
For the cherry blossoms bursting forth are fleeting, the bright gaudy summer blooms will fade, the burnt reds and oranges of autumn leaves will fly away and the frost sketchings on our window panes will melt.
It’s in the name, seasons. Only there for a short time. Enjoy, revel, take time, notice, appreciate.
Do you have a favourite season and, if so, is it the one you were born in?
When I started writing this blog I was very aware I didn’t want it to be a relentless round of cheery posts with no indication of the reality of life.
On the way I’ve found it to be so much harder to write a blog post about sadness. I don’t want to be the person spreading sadness and yet there are always things that upset, worry and make me sad.
No one has fabulous days every day.
It’s the tough days that make me appreciate the good ones all the more
So if I post a photo of my garden, I’ll usually take it on a bright, sunny day. Sometimes I’ll have to wait for quite a few days for the sun to appear and when it does I’m out there, really appreciating the light.
For every flower, fruit, vegetable and so on I’ve been proud of, there have been the plants I’ve put in the wrong position, or not fed correctly, or something (who knows what!) and they’ve not survived.
However, every seed, every bulb, every plant has been planted with optimism – I’m going for the cup is half full!
I guess there’s ups and downs in nature and in life but I’m going to keep on plugging away.
I am a fair weather gardener – okay, pretty much a fair weather everything, but that is, as they say, another story!
So the arrival of autumn brings with it a dilemma for me. I love being out in the garden but not on cold days so, will I plant winter crops? A nice dilemma to have, I admit.
This spring and summer has brought us fabulous weather and much bigger crops of fruit and vegetables than we’ve ever had before in our garden. So, maybe this is the year?
Normally I stick to planting bulbs hoping for my own mini Keukenhof! Snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils, tulips, grape hyacinths and snakeshead fritillaries for outside and hyacinths for inside. This year though, I think it may be time to be brave and plant some winter crops.
The thought of trying out a new plant is exciting, a wee trip to the garden centre (always lovely!) will it be seeds, a small plant, or a splash out treat of a more fully grown one? Something to look forward to as the nights begin to draw in and the glove drawer is opened once again.
Of course, as I write this the sun is warming my hands on this keyboard, making me smile as I look out onto the crazy chaotic wilderness of our wildflower garden.
Still, a gardener must be an optomist, so, here goes.
September spiders, weaving webs from window to washing line.
A new academic year, time to refresh, rethink, reconsider.
Will we look at the web we’ve built for ourselves?
This is a new beginning, brighter, warmer, sunnier than January 1st. Life is full of hope and possibilities. New opportunities.
September sun shining after a cleansing downpour and it’s time to declutter. Do I need quite so many things? Can they be recycled, reused?
It’s the same with the garden. Time to tidy up, wash out all the pots ready for next year.
Amidst these thoughts for the future, I’m going to take a moment to think of all the good things. Yes, it’s exhilarating to plan new adventures but I think the starting point must be where I celebrate all the lovely people in my life and the successes, large and small.
Wishing you a happy, sunny and successful September! What will you celebrate?
“By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.”
– Helen Hunt Jackson, September, 1830-1885