August is a transition month. The first day is definitely summer, the last is unarguably autumn. So here we are, no denying it: autumn. The days are shorter, we are heading for the equinox. In the garden are blackberries, lots of seed heads, and pears on the tree. It’s sunny and warm, not the fierce heat earlier in the month.
On the ground, by the door of the container, almost hidden by it and the large pot with the hibiscus, are cranesbill and hawkweed. A subtle combination of pink and yellow. I suspect someone will pull them out as gardening is idiosyncratic. Someone’s wild flower is another’s weed.
Most of our flowering plants have finished, but a few blooms remain. And a few have had a second flowering like the California poppies in the small wild flower bed. There’s campanula by the globe thistles in a middle bed, a few sweet peas up the side wall by the buddleia. I almost miss seeing the white hellebores at the back of the pond, behind the hollyhocks. Their white flowers are reminiscent of wild roses. The coreopsis has been flowering for two months, and still has a few yellow blooms.
I hear no birdsong today. And see few birds on the wing. Mating and nurturing is over. The fledglings have left the nest. And birds, no matter how we personify them, don’t sing for the fun of it, but for mates and territory.
We have been given two large clumps of ferns. I plant one by the hollyhocks by the side of the pond, having to remove an iris to make room. The ferns have a good root-ball and I am sure they will survive. Unlike our olive tree which is in a sad state. The leaves are curling, a few at the tips going brown. It’s make or break for this donation. And there’s nothing we can do but watch.
The pond is higher after the rain. The plants on its shelf are in water again. I see daphnia in the depths and a few water boatmen rowing under the surface. There’s the mysterious beastie of last week: the dragonfly nymph, crawling on the stones, just below the water level. In the centre of the pond, there’s a single water lily. On the edge a few monkey flowers are alongside water forget-me-nots with their tiny, pale blue florets.
We spot a small brown larva, about 1 ½ cm long, in the pond. It is legless and swims by arcing its body almost in a circle and then straightening out. A curious movement, repeated over and over as it swims along. It is most likely a dixa midge larva. The adult is a midge, mosquito size but it won’t bite.