Friday, 30 September 2016

the sweet calm sunshine of September ...

" It was a morning of ground mist, yellow sunshine, and high rifts of blue, white-cloud-dappled sky.  The leaves were still thick on the trees, but de-spangled gossamer threads hung on the bushes and the shrill little cries of unrest of the swallows skimming the green open spaces of the park told of  autumn and change." ~ Flora Thompson


September has been a very productive month for me. I have worked hard in the garden with a feeling of racing against time; although, in truth, there is plenty of time to do everything - I just wanted to get it done while the weather was good, so much more pleasant working outside when it is a little warmer, rather than having to wrap up in coats and boots to get it all done.  I have planted every last bulb that I possess; those I saved from last year; those I bought this year; every piece of ground and every container has been put to use - if I don't get a good display in spring then something has gone seriously wrong.


Gardening for wildlife has had its rewards this last week; we have had visits from badgers (who very kindly left their deposits on the front lawn); a rat decided to gnaw its way through the base of the greenhouse; and a grass snake slithered in to say hello and slithered out again.  The swallows are still with us; although they have been gathering on the wires more frequently, so I sense they will soon be on their way.



Pansies have been planted to give a little colour to the containers over winter - these are called Autumn Fire, appropriately named I thought.


This little chap came down to the pond for a drink - a Willow Warbler; maybe, or a Chiff Chaff - the jury's out on that one.  When it flew off I noticed the underside of its feet were yellow - so pretty.


A juvenile woodpecker visited us too - I do feel so privileged that we have all this wildlife in the garden - we must be doing something right.


The leaves on the trees are still green and show no sign of falling yet, which I guess is due to the warm weather we are still having; although the nights are much chillier and the evenings drawing in much too fast.
 


But we have been compensated for this by beautiful sunrise and sunset.



And so another month has passed; one that I have enjoyed more than I can say; away from the tyranny of technology; I have seriously considered giving up this web space (again); although I feel I should apologise to those of you I haven't visited who have been so kind as to leave comments here - I am a bad, bad blogger.

Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.
~ Elizabeth Lawrence.

Elaine








Friday, 23 September 2016

the taming of the wilderness ...




You may wonder where I have been - why I haven't been visiting your blog or leaving comments.  The reason is simple - I have been in the garden trying to tame the wilderness it had become.  Regular readers will know that I like my garden to be a little wild; untamed; natural looking.  But there comes a point where you have to take control before it all becomes unmanageable. 

We have had some lovely autumn days, where I have been working outside from sun-up to sun-set - giving little thought to time passing and ignoring the call of the internet and computers.  For who wouldn't rather be out in the fresh air than cooped up indoors.  Not I.  There will be plenty of time for that when the season turns once more and winter arrives.



In the world beyond the garden gate:-
berries and fruits shine out like beacons waiting to be plucked from their often thorny stems.  Scarlet hips, crimson haws, indigo sloes  with a pale bloom on their skins.  Glistening purple elderberries drooping under the weight of the fruit.  Burnt orange rowan berries hanging in clusters.  Acid green crab apples.  Knobbly horse chestnuts.  Spiky sweet chestnuts.   Mother Nature knows no bounds at this time of year and provides glorious bounty from her wild garden.


Autumn cooking is for storing, squirrelling and hoarding, in larder and cupboard, attic and cellar and freezer.  In the mornings, a mist rises and wreathes in and out between the tree trunks.  On the damp grass lie windfall apples and pears, burrowed into by late wasps.  By noon, the sun is high, and it is warm.  The leaves are beginning to yellow and curl.  Runner bean flowers are shrivelling at the tops of their poles.  Fruits hang thickly clustered from their stems, over-ripe, ready to fall, plums and damsons, apples and pears, rowan and elderberries and dark succulent brambles. ~ Susan Hill
 


I hope to get back on the blogging circuit in due course, when I have a little more free time to spend with you; until then ...
Elaine
 


Friday, 16 September 2016

Goodbye to Summer ...


Mother Nature is such a tease.  She gives with one hand and takes away with the other.



She gave us an extra couple of weeks of lovely late summer weather; then decided we had had enough and sent in the rain and lowered the temperature by a few degrees; as if we hadn't appreciated her gift.

Mornings have become misty; the skies hazy.


Compare a photo taken this morning to one taken a week ago when we were away.


Dull and dark; the rain slanting down
 


This time last week I was running wild; loving not only being beside the sea, but inland too - exploring ancient pathway and woodland; following meandering creeks and enjoying the panoramic views.



It will soon be time to make sure the garden is put to rights as the cooler weather arrives and outdoor activities slow down.  I have bags of bulbs waiting to be planted in containers once the summer annuals have gone over. 


Summer clothes will be exchanged for those put into storage boxes at the beginning of June; logs will be ordered; oil delivered and pumpkins and apples stored.  Damsons have been harvested and delicious damson jelly made for the winter store cupboard.



It is a time of transition; in the countryside and the home; one that I look forward to every year with anticipation of what is to come.
 
The gilding of the Indian summer mellowed the pastures far and wide,
The russet woods stood ripe to be stripped, but were yet full of leaf.
The purple of heath-bloom, faded but not withered, tinged the hills ...
Field head gardens bore the seal of gentle decay;
its time of flowers and even of fruit was over.
~ Charlotte Bronte 

Elaine

Saturday, 10 September 2016

sometimes - coming home is harder than leaving ...



So, here I am, back from a break at the coast.  I always feel a little discombobulated when I come home; changing one lifestyle for another; metamorphosing from feral creature to a tame one, prowling in a cage.  Coastal living suits me; the idea of drifting around in old shorts and t-shirts faded from salt-spray, comfortable sandals on my feet; a simple way of living; packing a few essentials in a case; no need for many possessions - I like that.

 

A real break for me is not having to cook; eating simple, small dishes prepared by someone else everyday is a real treat, especially when sea food is involved.  I love being outdoors all day too. Sea breezes help to take the edge off the heat, and feeling the sun lightly kissing your skin without making you feel too hot, is a joy.


I felt no compulsion to be connected to the internet; no need to keep in touch with the world; I didn't even open my journal whilst I was away; I simply needed to escape and enjoy, without feeling the need to communicate in any way.  Do you feel like that sometimes?


Trying to find places where there were few holidaymakers was difficult as the lovely weather drew people out; but, mostly we managed to keep away from the crowds; which suited me just fine.


Now we are back home and the weather has turned from sun to rain; I am tempted to say that the garden needs it; but I won't.  Everything is flourishing here; tomatoes have ripened; plums need picking before they all fall; the ground beneath the fruit trees is littered with over-ripe fruit that couldn't wait for our return.  All jobs will have to be put on hold till the rain stops.


Getting back into a routine is always difficult for me; so I ease my way back into things slowly; taking refuge in my books, and ignoring the piles of washing and shopping for food that needs to be done. There's always another day!


In my mind's eye I am back by the sea shore looking out at the vastness of blue stretching to the horizon with longing in my heart; thinking of how soon I can return to where my soul is soothed.

Sometimes - coming home is harder than leaving.

Friday, 2 September 2016

High Summer Breathes her Final, Burning Breath ...

September - my favourite month of the year.  Sitting outside in the warmth of the afternoon sun just watching, observing what is going on around me, with only the gentle thud of apples falling to the ground, and quarrelsome sparrows for company.

 
  A dragonfly with whirring wings settles at the edge of the pond;
 




  bumble bees frantically gathering pollen from the last of the lavender flowers;
 
 
a butterfly drinking nectar from the Michaelmas daisies;
 

or another landing on a rotten plum probing for sugar- even the underside of its wings are a rainbow of colour


or becoming an adornment on the statues hat
 

 
 a frog's head appearing from out of the pondweed;
 
 
a wasp landing on a lily pad 
 
 All these creatures going about the business of being alive taking not a jot of notice of me, the silent watcher with a camera.  Capturing a perfect shot requires patience and perseverance - flowers are easier, they don't  get startled and fly away!


cyclamen

 
nicotiana
 

nasturtium
 

dahlia
 

heuchera 'caramel'
 
 
toadstool
 
September is also the time when we take a few days away - it can be quite lovely at the coast at this time of year.  Taking time to stroll in the sunshine; visit favourite haunts; sitting in the dunes for picnics beneath a vast blue sky; walking through woodland and heath and  foraging in my favourite hedgerow - yes, I have a favourite hedgerow!  Can't wait to breathe in the salty sea air and enjoy the panoramic vistas over the marshes; watching the tides slowly ebb and flow into the creeks; and see the sailing boats bobbing in the water.  Fancy coming too?- see you there, don't be late!


Elaine