Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The End of Summer

Sunday 19 September, a color-washed sky at 7 a.m. 
Mauve, dusty lavender, shades of dove grey and palest blue, peach warming to coral.

It takes longer for the sun to appear, sliding low along the horizon. The grass is dew wet, silvered and chilly. If I walk out my boots leave a greener trail in passing. 
The promising sunrise gave way to banks of grey clouds, small flurries of rain. The air felt still and heavy with incipient moisture.
It rained most of Monday, intermittent showers requiring my car's windshield wipers at a slow speed on the way into town, some sharp deluges that I tried to wait out before resolutely pulling my red rain jacket around me and dashing through the wet.
At 9 p.m. the sky suddenly cleared and the harvest moon rose, a pale golden sphere that sent my shadow looming ahead of me when I made a last trip out to the trash pit with veg trimmings.

We have the hope of a few meals of green beans from this final planting of the summer. A late July sowing was destroyed by Mexican bean beetles before I got out with the shaker can of Sevin dust. A bad year for bean beetles!

Beyond the planned row of beans, volunteers have sprung up since Jim cleared and tilled that area. These are the progeny of the ill-fated pole beans which tangled through their trellis and became infested with chiggers/spider mites--or whatever those horrid pests should be called. The season won't extend for them to blossom and bear.
Myriad clumps of cucumbers have likewise sprouted in their cleared area, brought on by this month's frequent small rains.

In addition to our usual planting of butternut squash which bore well, I bought seed of a bush variety. 
The squash are bell-shaped rather then the usual elongated shape.

Weary of watering the plants in the greenhouse by hand I've ranged them outside where I can water them with the nearby hose if rain doesn't give them enough. These are the remainder of my seed-grown plants designated for the extension of the west garden--a project derailed last spring.
I'm not quite resigned to giving these up, but a way to accomplish that garden hasn't presented.

Nasturtiums are willing to give me at least two flowerings per summer. I drag this large pot into the greenhouse when winter threatens and it sits there until late spring warmth encourages the seeds fallen from the previous summer's blooms to germinate. I allow a number of the blossoms to set seed which with a bit of judicious encouragement sends up fresh plants. The big planter was tucked out of the way in the corner where the greenhouse abuts the shop.

A bit of yellow to lighten a sunless day.

One tendril of nasturtium poked its way through the gap between the two walls, climbed for a bit then sprawled across the greenhouse floor.

This smaller pot of nasturtiums rested in the greenhouse until it again flourished and has come out to grace the front entry until frost.

The tangle of the unfinished west garden troubles my peace of mind each time I walk past. Last season it was lovely, thyme and lavender flourishing along the edge of the raised bed and spilling over the stone path. While the herbs came through the winter their situation didn't suit, and I've had to watch the wiry twigs blacken and rot. In part I'm blaming the butterfly bush; designated as 'dwarf' if has sprawled and rambled spilling over the edge of the raised bed creating too heavy shade for the sun-loving plants below.

A last stalk of bloom on coneflower 'twister.'

Dr. Ruppel making a valiant effort.

Another view of the buddleia in its unrestrained sprawl.

Duchess of Edinburgh giving me a few last glowing blooms.

A few roses after the Japanese beetles have retired until another summer.
They last for a day or two then the petals fall in soft heaps on the windowsill.
Autumn is my favorite of the seasons. As the weather cools and days are crisp I'll tackle such garden cleanup as I can manage--pruning, tidying, while watching the turning colors of leaves, listening for the wild calls of Canadian geese and sandhill cranes as they fly overhead on their way to winter grounds.
'To everything a season.'


  1. I am in the autumn tidy up here. I did actually phone a gardener who used to come and do the big clear up in the paddocks - he wanted to come last weekend, when we were out both days. I can see I will have to chase him again as the work is truly beyond me.

    Your garden is still giving you some colour and blooms (love that pure white clematis). My roses are still flowering at varying rates - I will give them another good feed of Rose Food this autumn. They respond well to it.

    I think both of us have had to realize our physical limitations these days - gone are my 8 hour gardening days from Ynyswen! With Keith's illness I have inherited the lawn mowing - a job I gave up a few years back because I struggled with it. Perhaps another job for a gardener . . .

  2. A beautiful post! I will admit to being a bit envious of your frequent rain showers. The West Bed, wild as it may be, really is rather beautiful. I have finally given up on the butterfly bushes because of their wild nature. I have cleaned up all the garden areas and beds around the house, but am leaving most of the zinnias a little longer - maybe as long as butterflies still flit and flutter among them.