The Year Advances

It’s now September, I’ve noticed the days getting shorter, it’s dark by 9:00pm, the night-time temperatures are starting to fall and the supermarkets have started displaying their Christmas decorations. The year is moving on, most of the plants have flowered and I’ve already started clearing the borders of finished biennials in preparation for the next set. In my mind I have the distinct feeling that the year is moving on and that we’re well into the descent to Christmas and Winter, where the garden goes dormant and looks the most bleak.

While we do have several evergreen plants and will have something in flower through most of winter, it’s nothing compared to how the garden is in mid summer. It’s a while until the clocks go back, but I’m already beginning to run short on time on those evenings I garden after work, I’ll be needing headlights on the lawn mower soon.

Despite the fact that the garden seems to be gradually winding down, it is a very busy time and I experienced this same phenomenon last year too. There are seeds to gather and cuttings to strike (although some would argue I have enough seeds already). Weeds that have escaped the trowel need to be found and exterminated. It’s also the last chance for lawn treatment as the daffodils will start waking up in a few months. Not to mention thinking about winter protection for all the half-hardy plants, pot plants and seeds trays that will need safe over-wintering. Plans for the borders next year need to be made now to keep gaps from appearing. On top of all that, there’s the general clearing out of dead plants and keeping things looking reasonably tidy (I’m not much of a neat freak but I will have immaculate lawn edges).

There is still sometime yet before I’m forced indoors, the Stargazer lilies are still flowering, even the Abutilon has managed a single, tiny lantern flower, roses are in a second flush and the sunflowers are  fully open. Despite the miserable excuse for a summer we’ve had, there are still some warm evenings where I can sit outside to watch the garden start drifting off to sleep. That’s if I manage to clear enough space on the patio, which has filled up with seeds trays and plants waiting to be planted, again.

6 Comments


  1. I’m finding something disorienting about this fall, perhaps because the weather continues to be so peculiar. Today is extremely humid, feels more like July than September. I’m glad you mentioned about the edges, that’s one end of year chore I need to remember.

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    1. Well, I think the continuous rain seems to have taken a break for a while here, we may get something verging on a normal autumn – it might even be warm as we’ve had some sunny weather recently! I’m feeling the squeeze in the evenings to try and get as much done before the light goes. It’s frustrating as there seems to be so much to do this time of year it’s caught me unawares.

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  2. We’re less than three weeks away from the equinox; and I, too, am noticing the lessening hours of daylight. For me, the most dramatic difference is in the morning — accented by the fact that when I come back to Pennsylvania for the beginning of school, I am moving 30 minutes further west in the time zone. The result is that I am now getting up in the dark (at least on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, when I need to be out of the house no later than 7 a.m.); in a few weeks, I will begin leaving the house in the dark, which always depresses me. I love fall as a season, but I don’t love those dark morning hours.

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    1. Wow Jean – out of the house no later than 7:00am! The last time I was up that early, it was to deal with a big pile of manure. The latitude that we’re at means that by mid-winter, we’ll be getting up in the dark and coming home in the dark too, the daylight hours are during the working day and that depresses me!

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  3. Penstemmons! They are lovely late flowerers, and indeed because of the hiccup at the beginning of summer, are still budding up on some of the plants. I love them. Another group of gaudy ladies who will grow anywhere, and have many pretty frocks to wear. I recommend them to you if you want some later flowers. Sadly the very last flower on my Crocosmia/Monbretia (can’t remember which way the name change went) Lucifer is now gone. How I love that blast of red when it arrives. I know the evenings are getting shorter, but this time of the year brings the best mornings – sunny and a wee bit frosty – I love them.

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    1. Hi Mrs Mac, we have a somewhat sparse stand of crocosmia but that’s because they’re in a fair amount of shade. The flowers are long gone and they’re busy dropping their seeds around now. The lilies are finishing but the echinacea are still going, the snapdragon are also leaving it very late to start flowering and the fuchsia are only just thinking about flowering now. That lot will finish when we get the first frosts of the year – not sure when that is though, night time temperatures are managing to stay in double-figures still.

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