I’ve been away from my blog for a few days saying a final goodbye to my 102-year-old uncle. He was indomitable, subversively funny, and energetic beyond imagining – for instance he celebrated his eightieth birthday by climbing eight Munros (Scottish mountains over 3000 feet). He was the last living close family member of my parent’s generation, and with his death we are now the front line. So be it.
We travelled up to the Highlands of Scotland, through a beautiful autumnal England and said goodbye in brilliant sunshine. I meant to take photos, but was too involved talking to the family. As we left yesterday it rained and I took one photo. This road leads up a steep hill to the house that he and my aunt built in the 1970s, and where we spent many happy holidays walking in the Cairngorms.
Here, instead, are some images of autumn from further south.
I find myself prowling the garden, waiting for the dramas of autumn. Some of them are underway already. Though summer has not yet retired and tomatoes and apples (Blenheim Orange) are still ripening, This rhododendron (Morgenrot) thinks it is spring.
No idea what this frog is thinking. We have no pond, but I bump into frogs a few times every year (he is a frog; he is smooth-skinned and he jumps). There are roses (Alec’s Red – knockout scent and cosmos (Chocamocha) in flower and even the odd sweet pea. What I am really waiting for is the maples to change colour. I am impatient to know which of my new seedlings has the best autumn glow. This impatience is foolish, I must not wish the summer away and the marigolds (Calendula) in the veg plot are still covered in blooms a joy to behold.And there is plenty of drama (Pampas Grass) in the botanical gardens.
My husband was a little underwhelmed by his first sight of lunch today.
We love tomatoes and I thought with the new greenhouse we would have a splendid crop of homegrown ones. Sadly, all the ones I started in the greenhouse have not fared well after being transferred to the vegetable plot. The blazing heat, our sandy soil and my erratic watering and feeding (though I tried) have not been to their liking, so every kind of rot has set in and this is all that is left.
And they’re not as healthy as they look. The one plant I kept in the greenhouse is looking much happier, so next year I will fill the greenhouse with them.
However my little nursery bed of seedling maples has come through the summer in brave force and I think there are some interesting plants here.
I was a little alarmed to see that the parent of most of these, Matsukaze, is already showing some Autumn colour. I don’t understand where the summer went or how the year is slipping past so swiftly.
At least the birds and the hedgehogs are flourishing. Outside my writing room window very new half-coloured robins, bluetits, great tits and coal tits and, I think, a willow warbler (who resists the efforts of the paparazzi ) all flit about constantly (very good for concentration) while the ground is patrolled by pigeons, dunnocks and blackbirds (one with a grey head). We hear the hedgehogs at night and they polish off a plate of mealworms etc every night. I am torn between my desk and the outside, but the seasons won’t wait, so I must try and get out more.