Monday, September 11, 2023

Another September

I have spent nearly an hour this evening trolling through journal posts from past Septembers.
Nothing much changes.
There are slight variations in the weather from year to year--drought or rain--lingering heat or a sudden downturn in temperatures.
There is a tallying of the garden, the crops that have flourished, those that have been disappointing.
My observations don't change greatly; I wake between 4 and 5, lie in bed sleepily watching as daylight leaks slowly into the room defining the furniture, picking out objects as fuzzy shapes of grey. I glance at the red numbers on the digital clock, knowing that it isn't time to rise and start the tasks of the morning. Time enough when colors return to the room: the mellow 'hand-loomed scarlet' paint beneath the white chair rail; the patterns and colors of the quilts stacked in the open cupboard.

Through the window the trees bordering the west end of the meadow as it pitches toward the ravine are foreshortened, distorted by the gradual slope of the land. The tallest oak seems no higher than the lower panes of my window.

The hummingbirds are dispersing, a few at a time, seemingly on schedule. Watering potted rosemarys and geraniums on the screened porch I may startle a solitary bird zooming away from the feeder. The clamoring whirl of tiny swift bodies fighting for sugar syrup is over for another summer. A male hummer darts to perch on the clematis trellis; goldfinches sway on the leaning stalks of coneflowers. 
Sunflowers at the edge of the garden cant at crazy angles, a few shredded gold petals still clinging to the darkly ripened seed heads.
Jim has harvested butternut squash, trundling them, heaped in the old wheelbarrow, to rest on the covered back porch before being brought in to line the newspaper covered shelves in the dark back hallway.
We have no fall garden this year. The relentless heat of late July and August didn't inspire the seeds of beets and green beans to germinate. A few gaunt spires of okra stand in the now weedy area they shared with rows of potatoes and green peppers. Jim has run over much of the garden area with the tractor and bush hog. 
'When can I take out the sunflowers?' he asks. 
'Not yet,' I reply. 'Let the goldfinches finish their gleaning.'

Several of the clematis vines have produced fresh growth, even a blossom here and there, smaller and paler than the exuberant bloom of early summer. 
The shrub roses have struggled against a particularly fierce onslaught of Japanese beetles. Will there be a few blooms to cherish before frost?
Newly planted pansies have settled into their pots and I have pricked out the tiny self-sown seedlings from the spring plants, given them fresh soil. They are in the greenhouse where I hope they will put down good roots before winter.

As the calendar moves us toward the equinox I hope for a mild and prolonged autumn; mellow days in which to prune, weed, reorganize perennial plantings; days of gentle rain when a fire in the woodstove is welcome and the smell of simmering soup and baking bread foretells shortened days and crisp clear nights. 

Ragged sunflowers.

Cosmos have not been vigorous this summer.

Cosmos petals look as though they had been streakily painted in watercolors.

Newly purchased pansies with a 'baby' seedling or two tucked in.

A mum from last year wintered in one of the raised black tubs.

Always the companionship of cats! Shelby, the cantankerous little calico.

Robert--who lords it over us, indoors and out.



  1. A beautiful post! You describe the days so well that I almost seem to be there. Your grass is so green while ours is much drier looking. We are hoping for rain by morning. I am working each day to make things tidy and have been tempted to mow down the garden. The zinnia patch is quite ragged now but I will leave it a little longer. Mary @ Hilltop Post

    1. Mary; Mowing down the garden in autumn is a difficult move--the landscape seems bare without the towering row of sunflowers. And yet, in a week's time the eyes and the mind adjust to the next season. Each spring I'm delighted to find that in spite of the upheaval of tractor and tiller zinnias reappear.

  2. I hear memories with your words about activity and reflection.

    1. Carole; I'm hearing your comment in a voice I know--memories shared [?]

  3. What a lovely mooch through your garden up to now Sharon, and the mystery of the 'hand loomed' paint, what does it mean I wonder.

    1. Thelma; 'Hand-Loomed Scarlet' is the name of a C and K paint that I've now used in 3 houses--a lovely deep 'old-fashioned' red. The walls above the chair rail are painted in an off-white labeled 'Muslin Wrap.' I do wonder about the imagination of those who give 'names' to paint colors!

  4. I have to say, a garden isn't a garden without cats in it! Supervising us of course :) Mine is going to pot now - SO much autumn clearing to do and I still haven't done the summer clearing where new plantings are planned. Ah well, I will get there eventually. You grow a lot more than I do here - I'm just a one courgette plant, lots of runner beans, tomatoes and cucumbers sort of gal. Keith will only eat peas, broccoli and the occasional spoonful of cabbage and carrots on occasion!

    I too have Cosmos (planted too thickly in big pots and never thinned out). I am still waiting for the yellow "one" to flower. Several were squashed beyond redemption when Ghengis made that pot his lounging area :) It WOULD be the expensive yellow wouldn't it?

    Ah well, off to buy my greenhouse now and I "may" just pop by the little Nursery near Crossgates on my way home. . .

    1. Jennie; You will completely understand why my tubs and pots of outdoor flowers are spiked with slender twigs, old cutlery and smooth stones. There are not only nosy cats prodding at plants, there are visiting raccoons and opossums who are sometimes inspired to uproot.
      Of course it is always some rather special plant that is most attacked!
      J. did purchase a 'kit' greenhouse offered on craigslist [2nd hand] supposedly all pieces included and a booklet with assembly directions, when we were in our first Kentucky setting. After frustrating hours with parts and pieces strewn about he concluded there were vital components missing--probably why the original owners were selling.
      Eventually the panels were incorporated in our present small lean-to structure. Whether basic [ours] or more sophisticated, a greenhouse is a joy.

  5. What a lovely post. I can almost see your garden as I read. Mine has an end-of-season look... I'm leaving the Black-eyed Susans and Rudbeckias for the birds for now.
    I'm glad you explained the Hand-Loomed Scarlet. I wondered.
    Granny M

    1. GM; Autumn is a nostalgic time for gardeners, is it not? Summers are so hot in Kentucky that by late June many flowers are drooping. Somehow the zinnias, rudbeckias, the Michaelmas daisies /asters hold on and revive for a time in September. Sadly, the weeds don't seem to take a break!