Everything will be okay in the end – If it’s not okay – It’s not the end.
I couldn’t decide what the topic of my blog post would be today – I ruminated over it all week – and thought, maybe I should post about …
Bring in the Surgeons …
We have three large trees in the garden that need annual attention – last year husband and I tackled them by pruning as much as we could and shifting all the debris to the tip. But this year the trees have excelled themselves and the job was just too big for us to handle. So I called the tree surgeons in for an estimate – but no, too boring ~ perhaps I’ll leave that for another day …
or maybe a post about …
The Day That The Rains Came Down …
The wind was stronger – clouds racing fast across the sky – then it happened – the heavens opened. The thirsty garden soaked it up gratefully – but I felt sad that the weeks and weeks of warm, dry weather, were over. It seemed strange to pull out my waterproof jacket and dig into the depths of my handbag for my umbrella – it also seemed weird to be fully dressed. I don’t adapt well to an indoor life and as the weather turns I have to motivate myself each day to make the most of my time – I guess I’m just an outdoors kind of girl – no, that’s boring too …
Okay, so what about …
The Great Autumn Wardrobe Changeover …
I spent time changing my wardrobe over from summer to winter. Putting away the short-sleeved T-shirts, shorts, skirts and sandals and bringing out out the long-sleeved, sweaters and sturdier boots and shoes. All of which resulted in two bags of clothes and shoes to be taken to the charity shops. I am not quite sure how I accumulate all this stuff as I don’t buy very much – they just seem to multiply when I’m not looking. Very strange … no, everyone else is doing that one …
Maybe a post about …
Re-charging my batteries …
Saturday morning was a wash-out so I took some down-time to re-charge my batteries. Reading, watching a film, more reading, a bit of cooking and generally relaxing – did I feel guilty – not a bit. No, not that one either – a bit of a flimsy premise
I thought about sharing the results of a personality test – but that is a bit self-indulgent, so no, that one went in the rubbish bin too ..
Personality Test …
I do like a good personality quiz – if I see one I just have to take it – to see if I am what I think I am. This one at 16 Personalities – is very comprehensive and pretty darn accurate too. Apparently I am an empathic and idealistic individual who enjoys exploring interesting ideas known for my poetic nature, intuitive skills and pure, childlike enthusiasm. Having a talent for self-expression, revealing my secrets through fictional characters.So far so good.
Strengths - Idealistic, Seek and value harmony, Open minded and flexible, Very creative, Passionate and energetic, Dedicated and hardworking.
Weakness - Too idealistic, Too altruistic, Impractical, Dislike dealing with data, Take things too personally, Difficult to get to know.
So how does that fit in with who I perceive myself to be – most of it is spot on – not sure if I like what I read though.
By this time I am running out of ideas …
A Sure Sign of Autumn …
Is when we oil the patio furniture and store it in the shed keeping it safe and dry till the summer returns. Goodbye languid days sitting beneath the umbrella reading, watching the comings and going of birds, bees and butterflies, drinking tea and eating cake – definitely not this one - what was I thinking ! …
In the end I made the decision on a greenhouse post, surely everyone loves a post about the greenhouse - telling you about …
Bringing the Outside In …
When the weather outside is less than perfect – cold, wet and blustery – I retreat to the greenhouse to get my gardening fix. Tender plants have been brought in ready for cuttings to be taken – an insurance against a hard winter – a job that I always enjoy doing.
And my thoughts turn to indoor gardening – planting bulbs in pots for the house. When the Cyclamen season is upon us I buy loads of cheap plants and put them in old white serving dishes where they provide colour, scent and charm for a few weeks before going out into the greenhouse then being planted outdoors in a reasonably shady place – even if they don’t survive I haven’t lost much as they are so cheap at 50pence a plant – that can’t be bad.
But it doesn’t stop there – oh no! I also plant bulbs of Snowdrops, Muscari, Tazzetta Narcissus (multi-flowered), Crocus, Chionodoxa, Iris, Hyacinth – in any decorative container I can lay my hands on. Most need to be kept in the cold and dark for about 10-15 weeks to simulate winter – I do try to do this to get some flowering by Christmas – a ploy which isn’t always successful, but worth trying. Some years I just can’t get my act together in time – and always regret it.
So even though the weather is atrocious and no real gardening can be done – at least I can ensconce myself in the greenhouse and do a little pottering – in the hope of cheering up those drab winter months – bringing the outside in.
Hope you didn’t find all this too boring!
See you next week – same time, same place.
Just a few random pictures that have been taken over the last week - a photo journal of how I have occupied my time.
Picking the last of the summers flowers
Sky-watching as the sun goes down
Enjoying a bowl of home made tomato soup which was totally tomatoey and quite delicious.
A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in straight rows. ~Doug Larson
Spending every afternoon in the garden trying to make an impact on over-enthusiastic shrubs, over-enthusiastic weeds and planting bulbs in borders and containers.
It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life. The rich colours of grass and earth were intensified by the mellow light of a sun almost warm enough for spring. ~ P.D. James
Making the most of the last bit of colour before it disappears.
If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens ~Robert Browning
Turning this delicious Sour Dough Boule into this
Happiness is … marmalade on toast
Breakfast toast – crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside - with rich Tawny Orange Marmalade.
It is a greater act of faith to plant a bulb than to plant a tree ~ Clare Leighton
Did I mention planting bulbs
still more to plant
Marvelling at the Primulas that have started to flower
I was drinking in the surroundings: air so crisp you could snap it with your fingers and greens in every lush shade imaginable offset by autumnal flashes of red and yellow ~ Wendy Delsol
And watching the wonders of Autumn as the leaves start to change colour and fall silently to the ground.
And finally, gathering the last of the Blueberries – their best year ever.
Hope you enjoyed your week as much as I did. And as an extra special treat I give you the colours of autumn.
See you next week – same time, same place.
For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.
Edwin Way Teale
It’s a busy old time of year. Now that I have finished all the winter preserving it is time to get the garden into shape. It is sad to see the garden slowly withering away but there are annual rituals to perform that will bring it back to life next year.
Just as at Christmas time families do the same things every year, so this applies to gardeners too. It seems the most natural thing to start to prepare the garden against the onset of winter; to plants bulbs for a fine spring display; to collect seeds from dying plants to save in envelopes; taking cuttings from favourite plants – just in case.
The third stage of the gardening year has begun. Decisions have been made – bulbs have been bought – planning what goes with what and where they will be planted for the best effect.
Thought has gone into what needs to be cut back – what needs to be moved or split up – what needs to be removed altogether. It is an ongoing thing – and when winter finally comes we can breathe again and relax a little – knowing there is little else we can do but sit back and wait.
And whilst the weather still holds we work our way through our list of jobs to be done moving round the garden on automatic pilot – because we know the rituals by now, every year the same but slightly different – each year you learn a little more – put right your mistakes – and learn a little more again.
I found these Chrysanthemums at our local nursery – buckets of colour in beautiful shades of autumn I chose these marmalade colours but could have had russet or bright pink or deep purple – beautiful – then I wondered why on earth haven’t I grown some in my garden – my grandfather used to grow prize-winning ones – they were his pride and joy – although we rarely saw the blooms as they were all covered in brown paper bags – to keep the earwigs at bay. Chrysanthemums associated with garage flowers or those short bush types only found in garden centres. They just don’t seem to be fashionable any more. Such a pity I think.
How are you getting on with your autumn rituals?
"September: it was the most beautiful of words, he’d always felt, evoking orange-flowers, swallows, and regret."
- Alexander Theroux, 1981
The autumn equinox will soon be upon us – September has flicked her skirts and laughed in the face of dreary August. She has showered us with sunshine, and one last lingering look at summer. For that I am grateful.
"Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh so mellow
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain so yellow
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a young and a callow fellow
Try to remember and if you remember
Then follow--follow, oh-oh."
- Try to Remember, Lyrics by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt
The garden has been filled with bees and butterflies and all flying things settling to collect pollen whilst there is time. Soon the flowers will wither and seed heads will form ready to scatter themselves over the newly dug earth and continue to delight and surprise next year when the earth warms and spring bulbs emerge.
"Smoke hangs like haze over harvested fields,
The gold of stubble, the brown of turned earth
And you walk under the red light of fall
The scent of fallen apples, the dust of threshed grain
The sharp, gentle chill of fall.
Here as we move into the shadows of autumn
The night that brings the morning of spring
Come to us, Lord of Harvest
Teach us to be thankful for the gifts you bring us ..."
- Autumn Equinox Ritual
The fruit harvest has been good – freezers and jars and trays have been filled with the bounty. Farmers in their trusty tractors have been trundling up and down the fields bringing in hay and grain - and foragers have been out and about with bags and baskets collecting berries, apples, sloes and damsons from the hedgerows – soon the mushrooms will show their faces as the season gets cooler and the mists lay across the fields in a ghostly manner.
"The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze."
- John Updike, September
The year is slowly passing with one last hurrah for summer and the race is on to complete all those gardening jobs that have amassed – saying goodbye to all those annual flowers that have done a sterling job in blooming all summer – emptying the container plantings and replacing with spring bulbs – gardening seems to be about keeping one step ahead - so much to be done, so little time to do it in. Change is coming – maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow – but soon.
"the air is different today
the wind sings with a new tone
sighing of changes
the harvest gathered
a flower, a nut
some mead, and bread
a candle and a prayer
returning the fruits
to the grove
- Rhawk, Alban Elfed
The nights are chill and fires have been lit, log piles replenished and kindling collected. The kitchen is filled with the scent of sauces bubbling on the stove – windfall apples, bruised and battered, and cherry tomatoes for pasta.
It is gloomy this morning – grey and misty – I sit by the open window and hear a robin in the tree outside – in the distance I can hear the sound of the hunt master blowing his horn and the pack of dogs barking and yipping as they collect to swarm across the fields excited to begin the chase. A sure sign that autumn is upon us.