The garden is blooming in abundance once more, and I’m delighted. We have had a glorious summer apart from the disastrous early start that saw many roses lose their leaves. The mild season has been especially welcome because we have spent so much time at home this year and able to take care of plants or problems if they arise, first hand.

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

Albert Camus

There is a hint of Autumn in the air now where one can enjoy the roses blooming without the scorching afternoon heat. Gentle days of slightly chilled mornings and hot afternoons but not hot enough that leaves and plants are under stress or burnt, just beautiful summer days. It does not get any better than this.

“The morning had dawned clear and cold, with a crispness that hinted at the end of summer.”

George R R Martin

These first signs of fresh mornings are such a joy and herald the next season – Autumn my absolute favourite time of year. More time to garden, not so hot, and the plants, especially roses, just love it and will now proudly bloom more and more until May or when the first frosts arrive.

Princess Diana Rose

The first touch of Autumn is time to enjoy the last bursts of intense colour, fragrance and flowers; the garden’s homestretch. If you have distinct seasons and winter brings frosts in your area, the rose blooms and many other garden plants will go into dormancy. So, quietly relish the rest of the season and appreciate the warmth of late summer days and not so hastily take on more garden tasks. That’s what I tell myself anyway.

 “And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”

Meister Eckhart
Paul Cezanne

Nonetheless, Autumn is an opportunity to plan new garden areas and prepare to relocate ( in winter) any roses that may be to close together or not getting enough sun. Plus, in my garden many perennials and herbs growing in abundance can be divided; Shasta Daisies, thymes, lambs, ear’s, geraniums, verbenas, and autumn glow, will be added to the new Potager garden. Plants such as echinacea, sedums and succulents, salvias, dahlias, grasses, agapanthus, chrysanthemums, and clivias send out shoots from the crown and can be divided to make new plants.

 “Autumn has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”

Lauren DeStefano

Autumn holds significance for Gardeners. I love the sense of anticipation and excitement this time of year brings as glimpses of the garden winding down create new possibilities to correct any failures from Spring and surpass last Spring’s glory. A chance to plan improvements and build on the season’s success and to top it next Spring!. I think all gardeners relish this idea that after winter if planning goes well, the next Spring will always be better than ever. We will have to see.

“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting, and autumn a mosaic of them all.”

Stanley Horowitz
Seduction Rose recovering

There are however so many tasks to do in late Summer and into Autumn. It is always a balancing act to relax and enjoy but to also get work done. The arch seat’s tea garden area is overgrown and requires attention; Twilight Glow climbing roses need fertiliser and reattaching to the arch, some roses require eco-rose management to reduce black spot. The main task in this garden viewed from the kitchen window, though, is to keep the vigorously growing thick lawn from entering the garden. The answer is obvious – a good garden edging. I’m putting in an edging of Corten steel during the coming weeks that I hope will keep the lawn at bay.

The music of the far-away summer flutters around the Autumn seeking its former nest.

Rabindranath Tagore

The perfect antidote to a balance of enjoyment and gardening tasks is to ‘potter’. And this time of year is perfect for pottering. To potter is defined as ” to occupy oneself in a desultory but pleasant way” in this case- in the garden. I realise that I spend quite a lot of time ‘pottering’, not actually working, not sitting or reading a book in the garden but a wander with a snip of dead rose blooms here and there, pull a weed after the rain from spot to spot or move a pot around but nothing too taxing and not enough to require full work gear or total commitment. When the garden is your own you can potter as much as you like, as Mirabel Osler says

“obligatory pottering belongs to this way of gardening and it’s something to be undertaken at any time of day, on any occasion when opening the door and without purpose walk outside”

Pottering may sound idle but does have merit if rephrased as “inspecting” – the roses. So whatever we call a mindless wander in the garden can still be beneficial overall. Similarly, apart from mentioning pottering, Mirabel has enjoyed a quiet moment of solitude looking at the garden from a window inside, as do I. A great deal of thought must go into any successful garden and can be done most easily from inside. A ponder from the window frames the garden from various angles and vistas. Many plans are devised this way, long before putting pen to paper or going out with gloves and a shovel.

“I like solitary pursuits, such as reading or pottering about in the garden. ”

Hayley Mills
Roses and chillies

New also this week is a raised garden trough outside the kitchen window in a prime North facing spot for growing a few leafy greens I can pick easily from the back door. This will suffice until the potager garden is underway. More pottering and pondering has to take place to get this just right although, plans are certainly underway.

 “Autumn is the hush before winter.”

French Proverb

Content and all Images by Di Baker 2021

Title quote by Matshona Dhliwayo

There is peace in the garden. Peace and results.

Ruth Stout