September 2021: In the garden

Just when you think the garden has finally ebbed for the year, along comes the September mist and love is once again restored.

An hour out there with my big camera is one of my happiest times of the month. An hour where I’m observing, absorbing and breathing in the garden, focussing on the best of what’s there, not the jobs that need doing.

I love to get up early and catch the first light of day, treading lightly so as not to destroy the magic. 

It’s a time where the garden seems to be in its own little world, just nature – flora and fauna – going about its thing, unencumbered by humans or machines or extraneous interference of any kind.

All feels so pure and fresh and perfect.

A new cobweb for a new day, glistening with dew in the morning sun.

Yesterday and its troubles swept away by the rotating sun, moving across the Etch A Sketch sky to start afresh.

The low sun on the horizon draws long lines on the lawn as it feels its way through the trees, appearing here, then there, like a highlighter picking out specific points of interest.

I creep around, not wanting to miss a second, not a single variation of the highlighter’s artistry; turning this way and that to a new illumination with each move.

The weeds have disappeared. The rays of light reflecting tiny droplets of moisture in the air, on the ground, are all the eyes see. The silhouettes of grasses and seed heads backlit as the sun finds a new path. Gradually embracing the whole garden as it rises higher in the sky.

It’s an excitement and a rush of adrenaline, not knowing which picture will form next. And I feel an incredibly deep love for and connection with place. Almost a secret place, one that only the garden, its inhabitants and I know of; quite different to the one later in the day, of bright illumination and lawn mowers and the hustle and bustle of wheelbarrows and toil.

A secret place that as the hour progresses, I know is slipping out of sight, out of my hands. Disappearing for the next 23 hours.

I try my hardest to imbibe every last drop. Yearning to absorb even more of this wondrous magic hour.

And then it’s gone. That split second when the light changes. Knowing that moment will come, knowing the light is finite, makes it all the more coveted. The end, an alarm clock telling me it’s time to go inside for breakfast. 

All month I’ve been waiting for the rains, which finally appeared late, on Tuesday. Usually the ground soaks through in the third week of September and the frantic planting season begins. With my sandy soil and thirsty trees, autumn is the only time for planting. But it was late this year and means I have a very busy October ahead of me, whilst the soil remains warm.

I have grand plans, as always, and that slight feeling of overwhelmingness. Of just how many plants need moving, dividing, adding or simply giving up on and adding to the compost. Fortunately, not many of the latter.

I want my garden to be full to bursting of plants tomorrow, but time and money mean that patience is required. That finite characteristic of resources again ratcheting up anticipation and enjoyment levels.

Meanwhile, the colchicums are the stars of the show right now. Paul and I both just adore them. Rising out of the ground when everything else is drawing back in, fresh as buttons, delicate as snow.

Apparently, it’s a particularly ‘buggy’ year this year, due to the mild and damp summer we’ve had. I seem to be chasing daddy long legs out of the house, hour after hour.

And Little Daryl and Daryletta have moved back home. I think they must have been on an extended honeymoon. I was a bit put out that Little Daryl arrived on the scene, drove Daryl and Darylena out and then hopped off with Daryletta himself. I mean, one thing to stake out a new territory for himself, but another to drive a family out when he didn’t even want the territory for himself.

But back here they are, grazing in the daffodil field most of the day. I do hope they understand they only have a few weeks before the new leaves poke through and they’ll need to be very careful where they tread.

The squirrels are quite literally going nuts; such a hive of activity as they seek out each and every walnut, hazelnut and acorn on the property and find just the right patch of lawn in which to hide each one. Trying one place and then changing their minds for another.

And we had a visit from the Red Arrows too. Not quite over the garden this time, but across the field next to us. They are always quite a thrill to see.

Why is it that we so like things that are rare and scarce and finite? Wanting things we can’t have. I guess it helps drive us forward, to have dreams and ambition, to work towards our goals. 

It’s probably scarcity and rarity that brought such joy to me with my camera as the summer was closing. 

I wonder, would I really be so in love with September mists if they happened every day?

10 thoughts on “September 2021: In the garden

  1. Adriana says:

    After all these years of reading your writing Janna, your words are still so incredibly captivating. Encapsulating atmosphere, emotions, sentiment and passion – perfectly. Such a rare talent.

    • jannaschreier says:

      And I can’t believe after all these years you are still with me, Adriana. I think it must be about 13 years now. But I’m so so glad that you are. Of course, I did used to have to pay you to read my horticultural drivel! How lucky I was to be assigned you as my tutor.

      • Adriana says:

        Even 13 years ago you bowled me over with your writing talent. As far as horticulture goes you were a very fast and talented learner! Not often, I think, a tutor becomes friends with a student almost two and a half decades younger. I was also pleased to see you look forward to doing this ever month as somethimes I feel guilty that we might be putting pressure on you to continue — it would be a shame if you didn’t though.

        • jannaschreier says:

          You are very kind. I think learning is much easier when you are really, really passionate about your subject. And, of course, having a great teacher helps enormously too!

  2. Jill says:

    Another beautifully written and beautifully photographed post Janna. I would love to know what the silvery grasses are in pictures 2 and 8?

  3. Louise says:

    Another fascinating and beautiful wander through your garden! Thank you for taking the time to write each month. I am so pleased that our paths crossed just under 10yrs ago! That I’ve had the opportunity to explore gardens of the world and of course your wonderful patch, has been captivating and grown my love for gardens. Just like your colchicum, my peonies are showing themselves. I look forward to their buds appearing and then their beautiful petals unfolding to show their beauty. I’ll send you a photo or two when that happens.

    • jannaschreier says:

      Gosh, ten years? I’ve so loved seeing the updates from your garden too. It gives me so much pleasure when a client takes a design, owns it, develops it, builds on it and makes it entirely theirs. Such a deeper level of benefit is gained from a garden when that happens – not just superficial prettiness. I’m so glad you have stayed in touch Louise.

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