If I could stop time…


The Green Lane


Rudbeckia, with cranefly

If I could stop time, it would be at the end of August.


Japanese anemone

Late summer is my favourite time of year. All around abound the steady but somehow comforting whine of combine harvesters with the occasional beep, beep, beep of their reversing signals. Days, noticeably shorter now, book-ended by a sky-full of bats and their new progeny, with house martins and swallows assuming the daytime shift as they perfect their flying skills in preparation for their imminent journey south to warmer climes. The sun remains warm, but shines a different light, a light that bathes the countryside in a soft focus, less harsh, easier on the eye.


‘Cuckoo pint’, or ‘Lords and Ladies’ (Arum maculatum)


Dahlia, T&M Dwarf Mixed

The green lane through the woods is now littered with leaves, spotted and curled, that prematurely dropped as a result of the dry spell back in July, to be joined by the rest during October and November. In the hedgerows, wild raspberries make way for burgeoning brambles.


the ‘Kitchen Garden’, with Sunflower in the foreground, Buddleia ‘Gulliver’, Verbena bonariensis, Dahlia ‘Bishops Children’, with Sweet Pea frame in the background.


Eucryphia ‘Nymansay’, with Achillea ‘Gold Plate’ in front


Eucryphia (close-up)

In the garden, the plums are just ripening, a little later this year but the trees are laden with fruit. The bedding is at its best, with the carpets of mesembryanthemums with their antisocially- bright colours starting to meld together in a delicious colour- clash!


Buddleia (variety unknown) with bumble bee

The late summer herbaceous has taken over from the earlier flush in June, and my two favourite shrubs are holding court: our Eucryphia Nymansay is covered from head to toe with its white, powder puff- stamened flowers and attracted to the mellifluous white and purple racemes of the buddleias, surely the signature scent in the British garden at this time of the year, it’s pleasing to see that peacock and small tortoiseshell butterflies have now joined the large whites; hopefully some red admirals will appear next month to feed on the surplus plums as they drop to the ground.

I must get on with the hoeing, though. although the weeds are growing a little slower now. I shall though pause a while from time to time to enjoy this marvellous season before we start the autumn tidy- up next month. Enjoy your late summer too! And for those in the Southern Hemisphere, you have all this coming!


Lilium (variety unknown)


Montbretia (Crocosmia)


Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’



the Sunflower Border


the Shade Border (aerial shot), with the orchard to the left of the grass path. The long grass has wild flowers in it, and will be strimmed in the next two weeks.


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20 Responses to If I could stop time…

  1. Rick Nelson says:

    Great photo’s, I am very jealous of your Eucryphia, I have seen some really large specimens on the more temperate west coast of Scotland and should imagine that yours is grown against a wall but in my garden in Cheshire I just can’t risk it.


  2. As usual, your descriptive writing is a pleasure to read, and I still can’t believe you only use an iPhone for your photos, which are always lovely as well.


  3. I can see why you want to stop time…your garden is stunning.


  4. Anna B says:

    Your garden is looking really gorgeous! I’d want to stop it in time too. I particularly like your dahlias and your kitchen garden border.


  5. A sunflower border – how beautiful!


  6. putneyfarm says:

    Beautiful! And we agree, we would like late August all year….but it is fleeting. Sigh. At least it comes back every year.


  7. Kevin says:

    A beautifully illustrated and poetic post. I always struggle with August because it signals the end of summer. Your post highlighted the wonder of the 8th month. I recently published a similar post about the light in August. I hope you can stop by.


    • I enjoyed your article, Kevin, and know just where you’re coming from here. Too often I think we have the mindset that summer’s over, and that our gardens are too. We stop watering the pots, we give up on the weeding, we don’t bother cutting the grass. But I’m starting to look at autumn in a different light -certainly September and the first half of October, which here in Scotland, can give us some good days in the garden. But I absolutely get the ‘back to School’ thing, which for you is literal!


  8. Heavenly! Your T&M dahlia border makes me salivate. I also like the Eucryphia…I’m not familiar with that plant but it is enchanting! The flowers look very much like our ubiquitous dogwoods but the dogwoods don’t flower this time of year, of course. I’m off to look it up and see if I can wedge one into my garden.


    • Thanks MissingHenry! I do like my Dahlias! They’re great summer-stretchers! I hope you manage to track down a Eucryphia! Ours was already quite big when we came here 10 years ago and is totally hardy down to -15C anyway. Nice to have shrubs flowering at this time of the year!


  9. Lovely prose today! I recognize a photo here as I do not know what it is in my garden…Cookoo Pint…does your have a trumpet bloom earlier? Mine makes orange berries and has lovely arrow shaped green leaves with white spots all winter. I dug mine from aside the roadway years ago and it now just produces foliage, flowers and berries. Still love “strimmer”. I am raising eyebrows here when I use the term…;-)


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