We had a surprisingly good day yesterday weatherwise, so I made the most of it given that I’ve no deadline to
ignore and panic about later work towards. I had an appointment for a row discussion in the bank necessitating a tedious trip through Holiday Central, came home and washed everything in sight, even scoured part of a fleece from the biggest sheep in the world (I’m not mad, just a spinner), and decided the iris bed needed re-weeding… and then it was evening, and I was wrecked. So I collapsed in the garden with a cuppa, and I noticed – I evidently needed reminding – the beautiful effects of the evening light (the house faces west).
I also realised how the year has suddenly moved into downshift. Yes, I’m cropping beans and tomatoes and spuds and courgettes and blueberries and wineberries and using the shallots and garlic, but there’s an unmistakeable whiff of autumn on the way. And the Welsh for July, Gorffennaf, is apt, after all: it’s derived from gorffen, finish, and haf, summer. The end of summer. Hopefully not entirely.
It’s partly also down to the colours,
such as those of the two pot chrsyanths I bought from the man on the market (don’t laugh, it’s a good plant stall). One autumn years ago I spent some time in Leiden and the ‘ball’ chrysanthemums always remind me of that, as do pyracathas in full berry. Haven’t got one of those (haven’t got a white-painted house on a canal near the botanic garden either but hey ho), but I do love the chrysanths.
There’s also the fact that the lilies have gone into overdrive.
Until I started deliberately trying to address the problem, I had virtually no flowers in the garden from mid-June onwards – apart, that is, for enough lilies to kit out a 1930s movie star’s dressing room and leave some over. The numbers have declined, but the splendour of some of them most certainly has not, especially the Big White by the back door. In the evening shade it’s even more emphatic,
filling the path with its scent and impressive height (over 1.5m, aka 5 feet) and bulk. One day I’m going to have to move it out of the pot it’s been in for the last five years, but maybe not quite yet. A couple of years ago I planted some other lilies in a bed (the tulip bed in spring) when their pots succumbed to winter weather, and expected they would disappear. They haven’t.
Or at any rate, haven’t yet. I love the low angle of the evening light, too, and the way it emphasises the texture of the petals, and gives those exaggerated shadows.
Better late than never, most of the cosmos are coming into flower too. At last.
This cosmos, from Karen at the Artist’s Garden, is Psyche White, not Purity – grew that last year – and I think I prefer this. Especially against shadow!
The light also attracted me to the stump of the Western Red Cedar which came down about this time last year – it was either the tree or the house, alas. For some time the roots continued to grow but it has finally decided that it is, indeed, dead and has given up its world domination quest (leaving the other WRC in the top garden to continue the good work).
For some time I ummed and erred over the stump but in the end just decided to leave it – it’s had a few large beach pebbles on it for a while now, in a sub-Andy Goldsworthy kind of way, but an interesting ceramic would be good. I’ve said this to my brother, several times and actually quite loudly, but he appears to have suddenly developed deafness. What’s the use of having a brother who’s a potter if he can’t suddenly produce perfect garden embellishments, eh?
Of course, when it comes to autumnal, you can’t beat crocosmia. And I’ve always had those to remind me of the changing seasons; you can’t get rid of them round here. Crocosmia and fuchsias, the plants of the west. Every year I tear up great clumps of the orange bastards; every year it’s as though I hadn’t bothered. I dread to think what it would be like if I didn’t rip gallons of them up – first house ever to be buried in crocosmia, perhaps? As a plant per se, I like it, especially the rather neat flower spikes prior to opening; it’s just the sheer quantity which can be rather overwhelming. I’ve been trying to remember the alternative word to ‘invasive’ which a friend uses when doing plant sales: ah, yes – vigorous. Very, very vigorous.
And then I realised that some of the garden colours were being echoed in the sky,
more and more intensely as the sun went down, and photography became impossible. I hesitate to say this, but it even got a little – shhh – chilly…