The last day of summer

I know that there are a couple of different ways in which seasons can be defined – I do it the Meteorological way, which means that today is the last day of Summer.  I can see the logic of doing it the astronomical way, except that it would be mean that Winter would begin on 21/22 December (so immediately before Christmas) and Summer would begin on 21/22 June (so on the longest day).  I like the idea of grouping the months far better – so September, October and November are Autumn.

Last day of summer
Last day of summer

The other day I read this post on The Spike about how much the author is looking forward to Autumn.  I am too – but then, I do enjoy drizzle.  September is my favourite month – it’s crisp in the morning but then warms up as the day progresses.  I love the light in September.  Plus (because I am a dork), I really enjoy the Back to School feeling.  It’s the time of year when school was most enjoyable – still a novelty AND not a lot was expected of you in the first few weeks of the school year.

My garden at the end of summer
My garden at the end of summer
The lavender on Headon Warren
The heather on Headon Warren
More heather
More heather

The meadow once cleared

So here is a picture of my meadow, now that all the plants have been cleared and taken to the dump (I ended up filling two big builders’ sacks).

Meadow
Meadow

It will look like this all Autumn and Winter (basically, terrible) and then will perk up once we get to Spring.  I still have a few foxgloves, which I hope will flower next year.

I’ve also weeded the lower garden (the one with the Acers) and the herb garden and have put the shredded bush clippings on top to try to suppress the weeds somewhat.

Lower garden
Lower garden
Herb garden
Herb garden

I have made one awesome discovery – the violets I’d put in the lower garden have (on the whole) survived!   They were just hiding behind a bunch of weeds.  This is good news, I’d assumed the slugs had got them.

My husband is pleased with the oregano growing in the herb garden (it probably needs a prune soon).  The thyme is also doing well.  For some reason lemon thyme doesn’t do very well in my garden, despite being in a dry, sunny spot.  Do any of you know why this is?

Our lovely friends left this morning and another set of lovely friends are turning up at noon.  I’d better go and check the washing.

New jeans for the girl

I’ve just bought these for my daughter.

Jersey jodhpurs #16 from Boden
Jersey jodhpurs #16 from Boden

I call them jeans but Boden describe them as “jersey jodhpurs” in “mid vintage”.  I used to rather judge people who dressed their tiny children in skinny jeans – ghastly! I thought.  How can these children move?

The thing is, my daughter is quite a different shape from my son.  I started out buying her wide leg trousers and they were miles too big around the waist – she still has a pair in age 2 that we have to roll the waistband down for, otherwise they fall down.  So now I buy her leggings and skinny jeans / cords.

Speaking of my daughter, she’s got into a Bad Habit.  She picks at her dinner then demands a share of mine.  A bit like some old housemates I used to have.  Perhaps that’s why they were a size 10.

Pruning

We’ve been doing a massive chop of the shrubs at the side.  We’d put it off until now because a few birds tend to nest in our garden and we didn’t want to disturb them.

Piles and piles of branches
Piles and piles of branches

I hope that the shrubs recover – until now, they’d become a pile of dead sticks with a veneer of green at the top.  At least that section will now get some light and air.

Here is is now
Here is is now

It isn’t easy to see how much has been cut back because of the way the light falls – plus it is a bit like going to the hairdresser and being surprised just how much hair comes off – bit it is quite a lot thinner.

My son helped by dragging the cut branches out to the main pile.  We rewarded him by putting on an old episode of Robot Wars (which seems to me to be conkers with metal).

Cutting back the wildflower meadow

We have come to the time of year when it is time to cut back the wildflower meadow and clip back lavender.

Doing the wildflowers this year was a much harder job, mainly because there are a whole bunch of stinging nettles and brambles in there.  I ended up having this particular fly buzzing around my head for ages and a couple kept going to the sweaty bit behind my knee (I also had a scratch there – so delicious blood for them too).

Giant pile of wildflower cuttings
Giant pile of wildflower cuttings

The trick is to cut it all down, then leave it for a couple of days so that any seeds can fall into the patch.  Then you bag it up and take it to the dump so that the soil can’t be fertilised by the rotting cuttings – you want the soil to be really poor quality so grass doesn’t get in there and take hold.

One good result is that my jasmine is doing far better than I had thought – I arranged it back on the trellis and I hope it will take hold now that it isn’t mixed in with a load of nettles and bindweed.

Jasmine
Jasmine

We have some elderberries, which are edible.  I tasted a few; they were sweet and delicious.

Mystery berries
Elderberries
Blackberries
Blackberries

Ventnor Botanic Garden

The other day we went to the Ventnor Botanic Garden.  This is the sort of thing that you think the children will hate but you announce you are going there anyway on the grounds that you have spent days and DAYS schlepping to places that are almost or completely child centric.

In the end, they had a pretty nice time.  So did I – (perhaps unsurprisingly), they have some amazing plants.

Tree Echium - I've only ever seen these in the IoW
Tree Echium – I’ve only ever seen these in the IoW
White globe thistles - you can't tell here but these were covered in bees
White globe thistles – you can’t tell here but these were covered in bees
Giant lilypads
Giant lilypads
A dell
A dell

While we were there, we went on the tour of the tunnel going from the gardens to the cliff face (I think it was at 2pm but I have no idea whether they do it every day).  Don’t do this if you are afraid of the dark, claustrophobic or a bit unsteady on your feet.  My son carried the torch at the front after telling the gardener (a young, crusty dude, would look totally at home in a pub in Brighton) giving the tour that he wasn’t afraid of anything.  He hugged him at the end – think the gardener was a bit surprised.