Year of Grace, Day 206. Possessions

Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you what you are, the noted gastronome Brillat-Savarin once said. Well, after having packed our stuff, I can now revise this to say, tell me what you have, and I’ll tell you what you are. In our case, with over 60% of our belongings being books, then can we be other than bookworms? Most certainly not fashionistas, to judge from the amount of clothing we’ve got left after sorting. After three huge packing boxes of clothes destined for charity, we are now left with 1 suitcase, medium size <20 kilos, each. How’s that for downsizing?

I’ve been going around photographing what’s still blooming and looking good this closing week of September. Surprisingly quite a lot.

First to leaf out in spring and first to don autumn garb — Amelanchier, also known as Saskatoonberry in Canada or Juneberry. Its small blue fruits taste like blueberries.  But since the tree branches are so high up, we’ve decided that the birds can have all of them.

Here’s a closer look.

Amelanchier autumn lvs vvg_1467

The delicately scented floribunda roses below have lovely apricot buds that open to white petals with a yellow-suffused centre. They sulk during the hot summer, but are now back to blooming with the autumn rains.

The pink floribunda roses are also providing a repeat performance. Neither these nor the white ones above — modern hybrid roses — are a match for the old-fashioned rose with its heavenly scent that I featured back in midsummer. But whereas the old-fashioned one blooms only once, these modern ones get a second wind after summer and go on until winter. Even on Christmas, there have been a couple of trusses on the pink floribundas.

Another plant providing a second round of bloom is the creeping campanula.

Another blue-flowered plant, blooming rather late this year, is the borage, self-sown from plants sown in our first spring here. The lack of vigour on these seems to warrant sowing anew again after two years.

Borage is one of my favourite herbs, and I love using its flowers to decorate salads and to eat too — they have a mild cucumber-like taste, in other words, taste rather watery. But nice — I love being able to eat blue flowers!!! The black centres have to be taken out before eating though.

Just a few days away from leaving my three-year-old garden, my heart is heavy. Nevertheless I am thankful that I had these wonderful three years developing this cottage garden from its weed- and bramble-covered, unpromising beginning. It has been a time of learning, not least how to deal with moles and voles: plant valuable plants only in large tubs; humane vole traps don’t work — the voles just eat the cucumber or apple bait and then roll the trap over and escape (we hoped they would stay in the traps to be released at least a km away); and alliums do not drive moles and voles away. Alliums, especially spring onions, do wonders, however, planted around roses. The roses were spectacular and free of mildew this year. They have never looked so good.

More on the last week of the garden in my next post.

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