Six on Saturday: 04 Sep 2021: mellowing

Who captured the feel of autumn better than John Keats, with his ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’? Well, we are not quite there yet, it’s a bit early for mist, and fruitfulness is a bit disappointing, as we’ve had very few apples and no grapes this year. But there is most definitely a mellowing of the light, which is to be welcomed, making the plants glow softly in a most appealing way. Add some blue skies and sunny days, and things are on the up after the dog days of late August. I prefer September, when the garden might be slowing down, but the rhythm of the year re-establishes itself: that back to school, back to work feeling, which in gardening terms is back to planning for next year, with my first bulb order arriving and awaiting planting (Camassias, Fritillaries, Alliums). Let’s get started with the first Six on Saturday of meteorological autumn:

1 Cricket of considerable size. As I was belatedly staking some sagging Heleniums, this fellow was watching me through the Miscanthus. One of those moments to stop and stare, after running in for the camera, as he slowly crept away with sticky padded feet. He was at least 7cm long. Very exciting, as have never seen one of these in the garden before.

2 Verbena bonariensis. I’m pleased that this plant is gently seeding itself about the place, bringing in the bees and butterflies. It’s moved into the veg patch, which I don’t mind at all as it hardly gets in the way with its narrow stems, in fact there is little for it to get in the way of, as the space is normally occupied by tomatoes, which went out when blight struck. I replanted with radicchio, which all got eaten, despite precautionary anti-slug measures. So the Verbena has free reign.

3 Rosa ‘Compassion’. Now, speaking of mellow, take a look at how this rose is transformed by the light. When it flowered profusely in June, it was predominantly pink. Now the apricot is coming through much more strongly. I’ll let you decide which is prettiest – the bud on the cusp of opening, or the faded bloom (you’ll need to ignore the hoverfly being devoured by a tiny white spider).

4 Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’. Here’s another flower I like best at this time of year, when it’s glory is fading and the pink is gradually suppressed by biscuity buff tones.

5 Hylotelephium. Or Sedum if you prefer the old name. I’m always astonished by the number of bees dining on this mix of a pink sedum given to me by my mother-in-law Marianne, and a white ‘Iceberg’ that I added. These grace the sunny sweet spot of the front path, with lavender behind them and geraniums in front, and further up the indefatigable Nepeta is having a second flush. Lots here for our pollinator friends over an extended period of time.

6 Geranium Rozanne. Speaking of indefatigable, this hardworking geranium is also I think looking better in the softer autumnal light – in brighter summer sun, it looks a bit washed out. Now it’s got a glow to it, and with any luck it will keep this up into October, maybe November: ‘to set budding more, and still more later flowers for the bees, until they think warm days will never cease, for Summer has o’er brimm’d their clammy cells‘ – I’m sure Keats would have made a great Six on Saturday blogger.

So there we have it, a change from the warm reds, oranges, terracotta and turmeric shades that I’m rather partial to – no doubt they’ll be back next week, as those Tithonias are just clamouring to have their photo taken again. Many thanks to our host The Propagator, and to all the participants too, wishing you all a great weekend.

25 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 04 Sep 2021: mellowing

  1. Great photo of the mammoth cricket! Did you keep the patch of long grass on the lawn? Whenever I see/hear them, they seem to be in long grass.

    The Sedums (I’m sticking with the old name because it’s easier to spell!) are looking lovely.

    1. We kept the long grass till August but there are some very wild gardens belonging to neighbours that probably make perfect homes for a cricket. Sometimes untidy neighbours make for good neighbours.

  2. 7cm this cricket ! It’s a big beast! I don’t have one that big here. I hope it hasn’t done too much damage to your garden… Very nice photos and this geranium ‘Rozanne’ is really a success

  3. Hytelolephium…. Gosh that’s a helluva mouthful compared to many years of sedum! I’ve recently planted a few. In fact your six this week could be my six (except for the hydrangea). I’m fairly sure there are some 7cm crickets staring out an me, delighting that I cannot catch them!
    Happy Autumn, Sel.

    1. I know! I can’t spell it without looking it up – every time! The cricket is gorgeous though am slightly alarmed by Fred’s suggestion that it may be destroying my garden.

  4. I thought I had lost my Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’ because the Goldfinch descended last autumn and were happily eating the seed, but several seedlings have popped up all over the garden, none where it was originally planted, but I think that is because it prefers an open space and it is rather crowded where I put it. A very soft six from you this week. I rather like those white sedums. I might have to buy more sedums to go with my yellow one. I think I can just about squeeze one or two in.

    1. What a bonus if we get some finches too. I think the Verbena does like the spacious conditions in the veg patch this year! It’s true that the others have mildew, but are flowering away nonetheless.

  5. It must be a good week for giant creepy crawlies! I also have a bulb order stored away in the shed awaiting planting. The ground is still a bit rock hard at the moment. I like Compassion in both her guises.

  6. Your garden must look lovely now with those softer shades in the September sunshine. 😃 Rozanne just can’t be beaten, can she! I planted some Iceberg Sedum in Spring and they have not grown at all, so hope they loo as nice as yours in a couple of years. Enjoy this spell of sunshine Sel!

    1. Thanks Cathy, I hope the Iceberg gets its act together for you, here it seems very happy though I added lots of grit to help it along. There’s no stopping Rozanne! I haven’t been on the Reader recently so get the feeling I may have missed a few of your posts, a catch up session is in order!

  7. I’ll start again! If you are an FT weekend reader you might have seen the column by Robin Lane Fox on Keats and his love of flowers. I’m sure he would have blogged. Great catch of the cricket – no poor pun intended and I love the iceberg sedum, I may be adding that to the collection here! Such a shame about the grapes, I know you thought they might be diseased. I hope it’s not terminal.

    1. Ah I confess to not being an FT reader but I did teach Ode to Autumn to one of my students, a 16 yr old doing GCSE English so I got to analyse it in quite a lot of detail, it’s clear he adored nature, like a true Romantic. That sedum is great, it combines so nicely with other plants and with blues and pinks.

  8. You have a lovely selection this week, in particular the sedum! What a gorgeous display, and I’m pleased to read that the bees love the flowers as I have just planted out my first Sedum. The before/after photo of the rose is a great way to show its colour change. Good capture too of the cricket!

  9. Your description of the “Cricket of considerable Size” made me think of the Princess Bride “Rodents of unusual size”. I am sure your cricket was more benign. 🙂 Our sedums are now almost in full bloom and drawing bees for miles around it seems. Always abuzz with activity.

    1. I just watched a clip to remind myself of the rodents, eeek! There was a sci fi film I saw recently with a future filled with enormous insects, the cricket wasn’t quite big enough to make the cast 😉

  10. Believe it or not, I think I have found a geranium that is better than ‘Rozanne’. It is G. ‘Mount Venus’ – an Irish nursery. It is a strong pink with G. psilostemon in its breeding. It has outflowered G. ‘Rozanne’ by a mile this year and last year and I have propagated it last year and this by taking pieces in spring so as to have more plants.

    1. Stop press! That’s big news! Well done to the Irish nursery, it’s great to have a few plants that flower on and on and I will be waiting with anticipation to see if Mount Venus makes it over here.

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