Dahlia 'Bishop of Llandaff'

Above: Dahlia "Bishop of Llandaff"

Garden diary: August

12 September 2001

I have tried several times to write about my September garden without mentioning what has been happening beyond it, but this has proved impossible.

Regular visitors will know that this site isn't about gardening in isolation. The garden I write about is connected to the rest of the world, the sky above it is above all of us, wherever we are in the world, and today my thoughts are with people in the US.

The last two weeks have seen so much loss. It's hard to sit here writing about seemingly unimportant things going on in a garden. I wonder if there's any point in planting bulbs that won't flower until spring.

Someone I loved didn't make it through this year. As I attempt to write about my September garden the most immediate thought is that September was the first month that began without her. Though I've tried to be as brave and fearless as she - my sister - was, I'm afraid I haven't managed it yet, and hearing of so much loss and grief elsewhere in the world makes it impossible. So I can't write about planting bulbs just now.

. . . . .

20 September 2001

The first fine morning after days of wind and torrential rain. Stepping out into a newly still and tranquil garden on such a morning is one of life's simple pleasures.

Yesterday was so dark and cold it felt like the pit of winter, with winds buffeting the plants. Most days recently have been like that, so the garden has been observed from the windows of the house.

The seasons have changed from summer to autumn, in those days I was inside. This morning, the stillness strikes me first. Then the mildness of the weather now the winds have dropped.

The ground is soaked, and water drops still rest on the lush leaves of the nasturtiums. Silver-leaved plants look like they don't like this kind of weather, and are waiting to dry out again. Drops of water fall from the overhanging foliage. I notice how the Parthenocissus quinqefolia (Virginia Creeper) is beginning to turn colour, to the red and yellow of autumn. There are a few late blooms high up on the later growth of the climbing rose Mme Alfred Carriere.

All over the ground are the windfall apples we didn't get to collect. The enormous amount we did collect are waiting in the house in boxes. Out here, the blackbirds enjoy even the most rotten and unappealing apples that are dotted around the garden.

In the peace of the morning garden I notice the many different bird calls from this garden and neighbouring ones. There's the usual blackbirds, starlings, a cheeping sparrow, and a couple of calls I don't recognise. Over the rain-soaked leaves I hear for the first time in many months the clear song of a robin.

Back to September highlights and diaries


Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty'

Above: Helenium "Moerheim Beauty".

Garden diary: October