Summer returning with a flourish, sun streaming from a cobalt sky, but the signs are there… autumn is upon us, the leaves are turning. And also falling, seemingly on the early side, perhaps one result of a droughty August.
Before the fiery flames of high autumn sweep through Nature’s realm, delicate pastel shades are more to the fore…
…with colour-bursts and blasts to remind us of the summer now departed.
A lower sun extracts hues, textures and patterns from the garden that may otherwise be missed.
Still plenty of nectar and pollen sources around…
…and insects to take advantage.
Others basking wherever they can, to warm up enough for the the final act, their legacy, producing the next generation. It was especially good to see several shrubs festooned with the metallic green matchsticks that are Willow Emerald damselflies, only recently established in Britain, but now a reliable feature of early autumn here.
In the wider countryside, Ivy is the final main course of the season, its flowers vats of nectar and pollen, enveloped in a heady, sensual, musky poll of scent, and the persistent hum of a myriad of visiting wings. Even with blowsy blossoms as a distraction, the allure of Ivy which has decided to make the garden its home still pulls them in.
Down at the ponds, Thalia, that (not very ) beautiful assassin (see last month’s blog), is still exerting its fatal attraction.
Spiders too are taking their toll on the insects, but at least they – unlike Thalia – eat their victims.
And it was particularly exciting to be shown a Wasp Spider which has taken up residence in the Dry Garden, feasting on the local grasshoppers. While not uncommon in rough grassland right by the estuary, this is the first time we have seen it in the Beth Chatto Garden, a space for plants and all that they encourage.