On the cusp of seasons

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Well, what a changeable summer we had here in the UK! August in particular was wetter and cooler than usual here in the north west of England. We also had a few exceedingly hot days which were most welcome. This summer I spent more time at home than usual, relishing those dry, warm days and, like a contented sloth, lazing in the garden, admiring nature’s handiwork in which my own efforts have played a small part. Not knowing how many more luxuriously sultry, blazing days might still be to come – or not – I made the most of each, in case it was to be the last.

I also became something of a wimp as far as travelling was concerned. I hope this is a temporary thing. I found repeatedly that I could not muster much enthusiasm for being out in the countryside or at the coast – or anywhere – in heavy rain, or in cramped, sticky, sweaty trains or buses on the hotter days. As autumn advances I’m sure I shall once again return to my gallivanting ways, but it has actually been rather lovely slowing down and enjoying my own small but exclusive green space.

Autumn is here. Instinctively, I hold with the ancient calendars which place the start of autumn in August at the time of the first harvests. There is a tangible shift which is felt most keenly in those colder, damper evenings.

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The blackberries in my hedges, which appeared for the first time two years ago, have been and gone. Blackberries remind me fondly of childhood when we used to go as a family on long walks, parents and siblings all harvesting the plump purple fruits in old ice cream tubs or Tupperware containers, fingers stained blue and arms invariably scratched from delving into prickly brambles. Those days are distant memories, and nowadays I leave my own miniature crop for the birds to enjoy.

The wild flowers have all died back now and new growth has slowed down. The rose bushes are still adorned with buds but I know from experience that many of those will not open. Those still in full bloom continue to nourish wild life.

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It has been a joy to see so many butterflies in the garden this year, mainly feasting on the verbena, which has been a triumph. There will be more of that next year too. Some of my graceful visitors are below: commas, small whites, small tortoiseshells, peacocks, speckled woods (I think!) and painted ladies which arrived en masse in late July.

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In mid September we are still enjoying some fine sunny days. There is still a lot of colour. The shop-bought Nigella seeds have, like last year, added so much beauty to every part of the garden in shades of white and various blues. They are amazing, growing vigorously and splendidly wherever the seeds were scattered.

Most have now finished blooming, their stunning seed heads continuing to delight.

A few have already turned brown and as thin and dry as old paper. The black seeds rattle inside their shells. After releasing and collecting them I’ll store in a dry dark place until the spring when they can be planted, providing me with an abundance of new plants for free.

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It will soon be time to place the spring bulbs in the earth and to cut back the spent growth so that it may rest over the winter until it’s time for the cycle of growth to start again. For now, I’ll enjoy this warm start to the autumn, relishing every moment.

12 thoughts on “On the cusp of seasons

  1. sustainablemum September 15, 2019 / 8:07 pm

    I hear you on not wanting to go out much this summer, I have felt exactly the same. I am more of an Autumn starts at the end of September girl, I always want it to be warm and sunny in early September but this year has been rather disappointing on that front. Autumn however is my favourite season and I am ready for it to come now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome to the Beautiful North September 15, 2019 / 8:25 pm

      After years of wishing away the time between Halloween and the end of February, I have learned to appreciate all the seasons and to adjust my expectations of each.. I still have my favourites, however. Despite my need for factor 50 sun cream I love spring and summer best. I’ve made peace with winter but am always glad when it’s gone. I don’t mind the cold ….. it’s just all that rain! 🙁

      Liked by 1 person

  2. shazza September 15, 2019 / 8:27 pm

    I’m loving the temporary warm ( but not to warm ) temperatures at the moment. I adore an Indian Summer. With a lovely garden as you have, it looks perfect to relax just there. X

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome to the Beautiful North September 15, 2019 / 8:39 pm

      Thank you very much. According to the five day forecast next Saturday is also going to be warm and sunny. I hope so! 😁

      Like

      • shazza September 16, 2019 / 6:11 am

        Yes I believe so. Off to the caravan with some friends next weekend. Here’s hoping. X

        Liked by 1 person

  3. tanjabrittonwriter September 16, 2019 / 12:30 am

    At times staycations are just what we need, especially if the surroundings are as inviting as your garden, with beautiful blossoms and butterflies. 🌸🦋

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lovelyandgrateful September 16, 2019 / 10:21 am

    Our garden is definitely past it’s best but yours is still looking lovely, and full of butterflies. X

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Typewriter Girl September 16, 2019 / 7:34 pm

    I planted a verbena too this year. I didn’t think it would grow but it’s now taller than me lol. Gorgeous plant that seems to take everything the weather throws at it !!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. bitaboutbritain September 17, 2019 / 12:04 pm

    We’ve certainly been lucky with butterflies this year. I have a very soft spot for autumn – reminds me of conkers and new terms – but I love all the seasons. Definitely with you on the rain, though!

    Liked by 1 person

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