But now in September the garden has cooled…

But now in September the garden has cooled, and with it my possessiveness. The sun warms my back instead of beating on my head … The harvest has dwindled, and I have grown apart from the intense midsummer relationship that brought it on.   Robert Finch.

To be honest with you, the garden has broken loose of my feeble attempts to keep it under control. Our Irish summer lived up to its damp reputation and my mind has been occupied with indoor projects (the room!). I can never manage to keep both inside and outside of the house the way I’d like to. They seem to require two different, mutually exclusive, states of mind. Or, maybe I’m just lazy.

Small Girl’s outdoor café has been invaded by nasturtiums. I’ve suggested she call on The Doctor for a solution but she has, rather inventively I thought, taken to selling nasturtium sushi rolls. The kick you get from eating nasturtium seeds is very similar to wasabi; she could be on to something.IMG_9078 (2)

Despite the weather, we’ve had huge satisfaction from the edible end of our garden. Husband’s elephant garlic, aside from giving me a near-concussion, has provided endless amusement. Incredibly, the advice for using this is to add exactly the same number of cloves as you would of regular garlic. The flavour is sweeter and less pungent and the garlic breath, we think, less noxious. It’s hard to tell , since we are all eating it. At the other end, unfortunately, there seems to be a payback in pungent gaseous emissions. IMG_8816 (2)

The fruit trees are coming on. We had four dozen, or so, delicious apples. There were, I swear, seven perfect cherries but the birds picked us clean. Gah.

Our pear tree has us flummoxed. It’s growing at a great rate and rapidly approaching some overhead lines that we, stupidly, failed to notice when we planted it. However, it produced only a handful of pears, half of which were blown off in a storm.

This was the only one to reach the kitchen, hard as a bullet and free from juice. I don’t mind, I don’t really like pears anyway.


Figs. I thought I didn’t like figs. That’s clearly because I’d never had a fresh fig, straight from the tree. I was flabbergasted. There must be some fragile flavour components that deteriorate quite quickly in figs because these, honestly, were fragrant and delicious. We had about thirty from our five-year-old tree. It’s a Brown Turkey. We followed advice to plant it in a big pot with a hole made in the bottom and sunk into the ground because figs like their roots to be restrained. IMG_8702

AND, we have olives, can you believe it? IMG_9108

There are still a few crops to harvest. The girls forage for raspberries, blackberries and fairy strawberries when they come in from school. We’ve planted some winter salad and beetroot. I’m sharing the kale with the butterflies. What harm?IMG_9155

There will be turnips.IMG_9207

Also, there will be oca, and plenty of it. I think it will be ready to eat around November and my fingers are crossed that we will like it because it is a pretty plant and spectacularly easy to grow. I’ve heard it described as something that looks like a potato and tastes like a lemon. Regardless, the combination of oca and rampant nasturtiums is making a neglected corner look rather lush.IMG_9211

I’m not brilliant at getting plant combinations right. I think it takes tremendous knowledge, forethought and skill to put the right plants together and keep beds looking good through the seasons. Nevertheless, I’ve had some happy accidents that, truly, make my heart skip a beat. It is these gifts of loveliness that make you believe in an all-knowing Mother Nature. The Verbena bonariensis seems to look good wherever it grows but particularly vibrant against the weeping cotoneaster.IMG_9203

When we had narry a plant, a friend gave me a plastic bag filled with Japanese anenome seedlings which she had weeded out of her own garden and promised would soon fill up mine. I have to admit that I don’t really like the plant part, the leaves are too grey and thuggish. Every year since, I have decided to dig them out and then, when the flowers have finally come, changed my mind. I think they look especially lovely coming through this crab apple tree.IMG_9170

If I could only have one tree, it would be a crab apple tree.


I went out early this morning, to gather photos and my thoughts. I have made an effort not to look at the garden as another list of jobs to be done. It will never be perfect. It will never be finished.

It is simply the space outside my back door where I go to breathe deeply, to look for small wonders, to indulge my inner farmer,IMG_9157

to see beauty in the everyday, every day.IMG_9160



Sweet-peas, still…IMG_9100

Giant, ugly, brutish, prickly teasels, back-lit by the sun’s rays reflecting off apples…IMG_9179

Fallen petals caught by rhubarb leaves…IMG_8620

Tired, ragged butterfly taking one more leap onwards…IMG_8624

Wishing you a lovely weekend.

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26 thoughts on “But now in September the garden has cooled…

  1. Oh my, it’s looking gorgeous out there. A garden likes a little wildness to do its own thing I think. And the creatures definitely appreciate it. Persevere with the pear, it will get there in the end. They like to be ripened on the windowsill. Pick them, lay them out for a couple of weeks and they should reach perfection. I’ve got a couple of trees, and to be honest I’m not that keen either, but the others quite like them, and once they’re ripe they’re dripping with juice. I know what you mean about figs. They’re quite different straight off the tree aren’t they. I grew oca last year. Did enjoy them, but a bit fiddly to prepare in large quantities! It looks like you’ve had a good year in the garden, despite not being out there much. CJ xx


    1. Thansk, CJ. I’d like to have enough pears to make the odd crumble but I’ll get over it either way! Its still a pretty tree. I’m having my doubts about the Oca – all part of the adventure, eh?


  2. Your garden is looking fabulous Lynda. I love the rambling nasturtiums! We have lots too and I love their jolly orange flowers at this time of year and the fact that the caterpillars are all over them. My crab apple tree has done really poorly this year and I don’t know why and weirdly we had one pear too! We have hundreds of Bramley apples though. Do you grow your figs in a greenhouse? I would love one…oh and a vine next year.

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    1. Our figs, and I can still hardly believe this, are thriving on our quite windy site. We put the tree against the treehouse so it faces west and south and is protected from the worst of the cold. so far so good!

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  3. Lovely post, Lynda, both the words and the photos. I’m not much of a gardener either —- that we have anything alive out there in the veggie garden is all due to my husband, who waters what I sow and then ignore. I suppose I’m good-ish at the front and back ends, because I’ve been diligently harvesting the kale — I do love to go down to the freezer in February and find jars of it 🙂 .

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  4. You are so right – it’s either indoors or outdoors. It’s just not possible to keep both going properly unless you’re super-human (or have an army of helpers) and gardens are never-ending projects; a garden is never ‘finished’. I’ve been keeping my house and garden barely ticking over recently and neither are looking particularly good! Your garden is looking lush and lovely (it’s obviously been quite happy while you’ve been concentrating on your room); nasturtiums are so great, aren’t they? And V.b. does seem to look lovely with everything – such an easy-going plant. Well done on the figs, turnips, olives, etc – that’s impressive considering you’ve been otherwise engaged. Such beautiful photos (the rosehips, bees, crab apples…) – my garden is also where I snatch a moment to savour nature’s beauty and breathe deeply. Have a lovely weekend xx

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  5. I agree – juggling restoration inside, fighting brambles and non-stop grass takeover has been a challenge this year. Although it is sad Summer over, finally we can shut the garden down and get into the barn for some pointing – long overdue as that is supposed to be our bedroom otherwise we will freeze down the road in our little house that has no insulation!! We grew our first veg this year too – potatoes and toms – lovely, although the toms got a bit overgrown, and spicy peppers. The seeds were from a pepper and stuck in a tin can and forgotten. Then I took pity on them and transplanted to the veg garden and they grew and grew. So all hands on in France – no time to be bored, 🙂

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  6. How could you possibly think you didn’t like figs … the most sensual and seductive of fruits – it is my eternal relief that your own have converted you to their near sinful delights. The garden looks fantastic and the bounty is greatly impressive.

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      1. I was converted on a beach in Greece … a local woman came over to my then boyfriend and I wanting to sell us figs. Her technique was to rip the fig in half and squish it to my lips …. talk about sensual eating. I have never forgotten it. Not all figs are born equal of course but those that are ripe are nectar from the Gods, I do believe

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  7. What a beautiful garden….the colors, the different textures of the plants, including the weeds…I find that most weeds have a beauty about them and I let some grow here and there as they almost always grow the tallest and have the first blooms of spring. I hear your true gardener coming through, there will always be something that needs done, that’s the beauty of a garden in my opinion, and as far what to plant together, your back yard is lovely. I love how nasturtiums seem to think that they can just go willy nilly anywhere…LOL I love elephant garlic…Really happy you found the wonderful flavor of figs. Have you made any jam from them? They are really a versatile fruit…and yummy….hope your embracing the change of season, can’t believe its the end of September…XXkat

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