The autumn equinox was everything a September day should be. The sun shone in a blue sky with a light breeze lifting the leaves on the trees and rippling gently through the garden.
For much of the day, I pottered around the garden. I pricked out seedlings in the greenhouse; some perennial dianthus, foxgloves, achillea and bergenia galloping along in their seedtrays for the past month or two. Faith has recently claimed a seedtray on the lower shelf of the potting bench as her favourite sleeping spot, emerging from the greenhouse lightly sprinkled with crumbs of compost. I suspect she will change her mind as the temperatures plummet, but for the time being we draw the door to the width of a cat’s head and let her come and go.
I tidied up the borders, deadheading and lightly weeding, pulling out more of the rancid smelling but oh so pretty Salvia turkestanica, making my way through the long loose limbs of Gaura to move a phlox to a more prominent position, and relocating an ornamental grass, calamint and sidalcea to make way for Artemisia ludviciana ‘Silver Queen’ in the sunniest best-drained spot in the garden, in the swell of the long border. I also found a spot for a second Euphorbia martinii from a recent visit to my Mum’s garden.
Faith and Xander kept me company out in the garden for much of the afternoon; scaling logs and furniture, chasing each other, or basking in the sun just a cat’s length apart from each other – they have reached a truce, although Xander’s attempts to cwtch in with Faith are so far always met with a hiss and often a swipe. It’s funny watching him sidle closer while she is sleeping; like a teenage boy using a stretch and yawn to slip an arm almost unnoticed around the object of his intentions, Xander will stretch out a paw casually towards her and try to follow it in, always to be met with affront so far…
The latest crop of autumn raspberries was picked, washed and frozen; while another trugful of runner beans was then prepared, blanched and added to the freezer, to the other bags of beans and tomatoes in various guises that will feed us through the winter months. It was almost six o’clock before we tidied tools away and came in from the garden, along with an armful of logs. There was a definite chill in the house, and the stove was lit for the first time in months besides an exceptionally cool June evening.
Today we woke to an already quietly damp garden, before driving rain set in for the rest of the day, a scatter of brown leaves beginning to settle on the grass, hedges and trees adrift in the increased winds and two cats slumbering before the stove. There is still a surprising amount of colour in the garden, with most of the asters yet to open their buds, but here and there glimpses of quiet brown seedheads are beginning to intersperse the hot pinks, yellows and purples.
While I dread the shortening hours of daylight and much of the dark cold wet weather ahead, there is a small part of me that is almost looking forward to the quieter palette of winter after the cacophanous riot of summer. I am curious also to see how our garden will fare, what shape it will take, which plants will stand up to the weather and which will collapse in a sodden heap, how much structure the garden has in slumber and where I need to pay more attention. I suspect all will be revealed only too soon.