Swallows wheeled about in the sky all around me on the clifftop this morning. Large flocks of them calling to each other and riding the thermals from the sea, feeding up for their long migration south for the winter. I walked along slowly, taking it all in while the dog snuffled in bushes – such a magical moment. There”s are sights, smells and sounds particular to autumn, aren’t there? Berry-laden bushes, cobwebs everywhere, flocks of birds leaving, others arriving, leaves turning… As I walked back to the house through the garden, I spotted a couple of golden bells of Clematis tangutica (golden clematis) in the wildflower patch under the fruit trees. We don’t want clematis growing here so I went back out again to snip off the tendrils and cut a few white Japanese anemones that are growing in the steps to put together a simple Monday vase.
I also have jars and jugs of zinnias in the house – the colours are more muted than the very bright colours in summer but still lovely.
I used to spend more time than I had spare gazing out to sea when we first moved here. After a while, I got used to the view (you have to get on with daily life!) but there were several moments yesterday when we had to stop and stare at the dramatic skies and the serene view.
The farmer has been muck-spreading. I can’t describe the smell other than to tell you that it catches in the back of the throat and almost makes your eyes water. On the upside, there are insects galore and swallows and martins swooping about, feasting and twittering, building up their strength for migrating to Africa for the winter. There are also flocks of finches in among the seed heads on the clifftops, rising en masse as I approach with the dog, making their tinkling sound, settling again as I walk past. Witnessing these birds going about their age-old business makes me feel all is right with my little part of the world. It’s cooler now – I needed a jumper this morning – but the air is calm and there’s a softness to the light. I found this conker slap bang in the middle of the lane to the farm, it’s shiny burnished skin caught my eye. Not unusual at this time of year apart from the fact that there are no horse chestnut trees there or anywhere nearby. Curious.
The garden is feeling distinctly past its best. We’ve not got on top of making sure there is year-round interest yet. In our previous garden we were all fresh from studying horticulture and keen to ensure the garden looked good all year round. Still, it’s important to take your time and ponder these matters. I’ve picked a rather random selection of slightly imperfect and fading blooms because I think they’re still beautiful – a couple of sunflowers (the yellow one is ‘Valentine’ and the dark one is ‘Claret’), cosmos, Japanese anemone (white and pink, unknown varieties), Ammi visnaga, Perovskia (Russian Sage), Echinops, Verbena bonariensis, lavender, an aster that’s appeared from nowhere, and some tendrils of jasmine foliage.
I’m joining in with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden where you’ll find her vase of colourful blooms (her garden flowers are still going strong) and links to others from around the world.
I love the sunlight at this time of year, especially in the late afternoon. There’s a gorgeous softness, depth and warmth to it. Other than to sweep up a tonne of leaves and pick up windfalls, I haven’t spent much time in the garden lately but I did pop out this afternoon to catch a little sun.
In other news… It’s been a busy, long week. As well as the first full week of Back to School with all three children having to be out of the house by 7.35am, David has started a new job which means he’s away from home for most of the week. We’re all getting used to this and settling in to our new routines which means Being Organised: packing school bags the night before; eating a good breakfast to keep you going throughout the day when you’re too busy ‘socialising’ at lunchtime; keeping on top of increasing amounts of homework after a long summer of not picking up a pen; going to bed early… We’ve managed one week. I wonder how long it’ll last!
I hope you’ve had a good week and are enjoying some September sunshine wherever you are.