The Territory in August

We went away in summer, and it feels almost as if we have come back to autumn. It is mostly the illusion caused by the week’s gap, but not all. The rowans are red, the elderflower is over (it seemed to go on and on this year, and in England it is flowering yet), and all the birds have fledged, even the big black-backed gull chicks who were trampolining about on their warehouse roof, while the older birds all trash-talked them into finally making the jump. The swifts have gone, and I’ve seen the first geese and heard curlews heading coastwards.

Ther vegetable patch is coming good. We’ve started eating courgettes, and the first beans will be later this week. There are tomatoes ripening – not many, pollination has been poor, and now the bean plants aren’t so tall the pigeons can’t find the cabbages so easily.And my companion planting of borage and marigold looks fabulous, even if it doesn’t seem to achieve much!

This photo was meant to be a spider’s web, coloured rusty with the spores of the fern it stretches over, but I’m not sure whether you can make it out.I’ve sown some of it, according to the instructions on Sunday’s Gardener’s Question Time, just for curiosity. Fernseed is curious stuff. Apart from the fact it isn’t actually seed at all, it was popularly supposed to be magical – if you mixed it with oil it could make a potion enabling you to see fairies. I think I’ll settle for some more fernlets to plant in the shady places!

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