Thursday, 22 September 2011

Do the Right Thing

On the right, the forsythia the spring after we moved in, with
our friend Mark expertly logging the ash tree he’s just pollarded.

Someone once said (I think it was the apostle Paul although I’m fairly certain these weren’t his exact words) that it’s all very well knowing what you ought to do, but quite another thing actually doing it, when all you want to do is the exact opposite. I don't recall any stories about the saint being a great horticulturalist, but the notion holds true in the garden too. Over the past few weeks our forsythia hedge has taken on the silhouette of a lunatic banshee’s hairdo, and against my better judgement, I’m struggling to resist the temptation to give the thing a good trim and restore a little order before winter sets in.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Mists and mellow fruitfulness

Thoroughly enjoying several things just now: the slightly chill nip in the air, the mist hanging over the garden and fields in the mornings, the sight of swollen red rose hips in the hedges, the sound of ripe apples dropping off the tree, and the early evening sunshine that comes raking in across the land at a recklessly low angle, creating a fantastic backlit tableau out of any stand of trees or clump of grass that gets in its way. All of which means autumn is coming in, and while I won’t believe it is quite arrived until the leaves turn and the fire is lit, I have a familiar sense of excitement and – is it relief, almost? – that the approaching season brings. Which might be considered odd for a gardener, seeing as the light becomes shorter with each passing day, and the garden appears – on the outside at least – to be winding down for the year. But there’s plenty yet to be done.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

September colours

September burnishes the garden with a metallic sheen, and colours so improbable you would think foliage and seed heads had been steeped in some lustrous paint overnight. Acanthus leaves are turning from deep green to their autumn shades of copper and gold, and an arresting combination of the sea holly Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ against pearlescent maroon honesty is particularly hard to accept for a natural phenomenon. Across the path the flower heads of the tussock grass Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldtau’ nod and in the breeze, catching the evening light as though they've been spun from thin golden wire. Just for a moment it feels like a stage set.