The weather is changing again and those who find themselves drawn outdoors will have noticed the cold mornings and evenings. There is the sweet smell of the soil after heavy rain; the aroma of rotting apples bumping the lawn as they fall from the tree; the compost heap groaning with grass cuttings, weeds, spent plants; the waning afternoon sunshine trapped in the greenhouse, hovering just long enough to ripen the last tomatoes and aubergines.......
At this time of year I become wistful for the busy colourful months of May and June when the garden was in full flower. I do love Autumn, (even when it makes an early appearance) but henceforth I'm going to try and gather inspiration for these months late July, August and into September, to try and add plants to the garden which will still be flowering now. There's no need for it to all be over this early!
At this time of year I always have to go away and read Louis Macneice's poem 'Autumn Journal' written in 1939, for some of his wonderful lines:
'Close and slow, summer is ending in Hampshire,
Ebbing away down ramps of shaven lawn where close-clipped yew
Insulates the lives of retired generals and admirals
And the spyglasses hung in the hall and the prayer- books ready in the pew
And August going out to the tin trumpets of nasturtiums
And the sunflowers' Salvation Army blare of brass
And the spinster sitting in a deck-chair picking up stitches
Not raising her eyes to the noise of the 'planes that pass
Northward from Lee-on-Solent. Macrocarpa and cypress
And roses on a rustic trellis and mulberry trees
And bacon and eggs in a silver dish for breakfast
And all the inherited assets of bodily ease
And all the inherited worries, rheumatism and taxes...'
This is what I'm reciting as I'm digging.