October is a changeable month, like a moody teenager; one minute lapsing into gloom and despondency, the next all sunshine and smiles.

Clouds and trails in October sky

When the winds abate and the showers give way to sparkling sunshine, which still holds surprising warmth, the world seems to bask in the sun’s caress.  In the past couple of weeks, I have watched chiffchaffs skitter across the garden, tails a-wagging; heard the distinctive ‘kew kew’ of buzzards circling far overhead; seen ladybirds on seedheads, and bees and butterflies busy collecting nectar.

Red Admiral butterfly on white-flowered aster

Red Admiral butterfly on white-flowered asterThe red admirals are out in number this month, usually found on one of the asters. They particularly favour the white one which sprang up unbidden a few years ago. This year it has grown up to completely encircle a clump of Centaurea montana, which nestles sleepily in the centre. In the spring I will have to dig up both, untangle them and replant them separately, but their coexistence does make me smile.

Red admiral butterfly on lilac Aster Little CarlowAs hibernation approaches, comma butterflies make a welcome return to our garden too. Unlike the busy admirals, I have mostly found these resting, slowly beating their wings open and closed; perhaps they are storing up sunlight for the long winter ahead, in favour of nectar.

Comma butterfly on Cornus foliage in October sunshine

Comma butterfly on Cornus foliage in October sunshine

The cats sunbathe too, making the most of the dry spells, though ever with a watchful eye for something to chase, even if it just a fallen leaf tumbling across the garden.

Black cat with white tiptoes lying on grass

Black and white cat basking in the borderSlowly, the garden is being wrapped up for winter by the weavings of skilful spiders. Their webs catch raindrops and dew like diamonds, while invisible and unexpectedly long strands reach across vast open spaces, catching and breaking across my face as I stride down the garden.

Spider and web between Ammi majus seedheadsThe lovely velvety red snapdragons that I sowed in the spring have been late to come to flower, and their blooms are sadly sparse as yet, but are no less welcome for these shortcomings.

Antirrhinum majus 'Black Prince'

Antirrhinum majus 'Black Prince'

While the ornamental garden is looking after itself with little interference at this time of year , there is still plenty to do in the kitchen garden, but short evenings and rapidly disappearing weekends engender slow progress.  It is surprisingly easy to turn a blind eye to the overgrown beds waiting work, especially on the wild wet days.

Puddles on the path

We can only do so much, after all, and perhaps we too should be turning our faces to the sun to capture its energy for the dark days ahead rather than focussing on the ground.


16 thoughts on “Bask

    • Thanks, Mark. I had to google the chiffchaff to identify it too, very distinctive wagging tail, but I knew it wasn’t a wagtail! Still expanding my limited bird knowledge!

  1. Lovely post with super photos – I particularly like the red admiral on the white asters, it really sums up summer’s end! I usually see these basking in sunshine on the hedgerows up on Hampstead Heath at this time of year. My veg patch garden is a mess at the moment, rampant nasturtiums and far too many weeds but I know it will be brown earth too soon so am reluctant to pull it all up – and then there’s the weather … another perfect excuse !

    • Thanks,I love watching the butterflies dancing around the garden. Plenty of time to clear up the garden through the winter, though the ground will be harder to work!

  2. Apart from the odd wet day this autumn has been such a treat. I can’t bring myself to tidy up the allotment yet. There’s still too much flowering so I’m waiting for the first frosts before I tackle any jobs like that. it’s time to soak up the light and enjoy the butterflies before winter sets in. Have a lovely weekend.

    • I suspect our temperatures are a bit lower than yours, but yes I think the sunshine outweighs the rain so far. Long may it continue! They were raindrops on the spider’s web, after a light shower.

  3. Looking at most of your photos you wouldn’t think it was actually October – perhaps it is only the spiders and their wet webs that give it away. I must look out for those red snapdragons, if they could flower a little earlier, that is!

    • The burnished stems and seedheads around the garden do give away the month a little too, but a lot in the borders is indeed still vibrant. I’ve had these same snapdragons flowering in June before; they are called ‘Black Prince’ and the seeds aren’t too hard to come by – I definitely recommend them for their ruby velvet flowers.

  4. Looks like you have a little sunshine along with the rain. Nice to see you still have plenty going on, no butterflies here now, but I was surprised to see a large bee on top of a cosmos flower. Still loads to do in the clearing up stakes but I expect the weather will soon put a stop to that – I am definitely a fair-weather gardener.

  5. Bask is just the right word Sara and perhaps the last chance for butterflies, cats and us to do so before the weather turns colder. It’s been on the wet side here for a few days but when out the sun has felt most pleasant. Cathy has asked the very same question as I was going to 🙂

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