The illustration is 'The Vine Diptych' by the Swedish painter Carl Larsson.
Sometime in early September I realised I had not put together an End Of Month View for August but could not work up any enthusiasm to write about the month. I think that it was because this August was best not mulled over too long - here it was cool, often wet and windy too. All in all a huge disappointment. On the hand September has been amazing. The days have been positively singing with many hours of soft sunshine. It has been hard to resist the call of the garden and the allotment during the noticeably shortening daylight hours.
Before I continue I should mention that this post will be photo free as I've had a camera crisis. The camera I usually use no longer directly downloads photos on to my computer. I had been relying on taking the camera card out and sticking into a USB multi -card reader as an alternative for some time but this method has suddenly refused to work. I think that the photos are hopefully trapped somewhere on my camera. In the meantime I'm still getting to grips with my new camera which was a present from himself when I celebrated a significant birthday earlier this year. I've been practising with it but do not feel confident yet. Hence a month with only a handful of photos which readers may well have already seen. So a quick summary of September ~
Allotment - clearing up has started but still much more work to do to prepare for winter. We've been enjoying the odd strawberries and endless bowlfuls of autumn fruiting raspberries. The apples except for some 'Sunset' have been picked. 'James Grieve' and 'Katy' have not done particularly well this year but 'Sunset' has a good crop although the fruits are on the small side. I'm hoping that the fruits that I had left on have stood up to last night's rain and wind.
In the greenhouse the vine has produced a bumper crop of grapes probably more than ever since I've been tending the vine. I inherited the vine so do not know what the variety is. It is purple fruited, tasty but annoyingly pippy. I'm happy to eat a few but there's no way we could keep on top of this year's supply. With a damp week ahead predicted I'm hoping to pick the remainder tomorrow. Then it's either wine or grape jelly on the cards.
The French beans petered out as September went on but 'Cobra' has started to re-flower. I doubt if there will be enough time for more beans to mature but you never know. I am still picking courgettes. We ate the first at the end of June and have been eating them since. I have to confess that I've not fed them since planting and am wondering what would happen if I had done so. Next year I will repeat what I did when I initially planted them which was to add some worm compost and some shredded comfrey leaves in each planting hole. It seems to have done the trick together with the weather.
A 'Black Futsu' pumpkin is in evidence and its extensive foliage may be hiding others. I also planted some small pumpkins this year. 'Wee Be Little' produces small bright orange globes and is still in production. Will definitely sow them again next year or something similar.
All has nor been rosy though. My later crop of dwarf French beans were all munched by the molluscs which was rather a blow. The big disappointment though has been tomatoes which should have been plentiful in September. The failing lies completely with me. I need to give some serious thought as to where I situate the plants - greenhouse, garden or allotment. Food for thought over the winter.
Garden - not so much to say about the garden which still needs an injection of late summer colour. I'm working on it though and will report back in due course. I'm also finding it harder and harder to work out a satisfactory balancing act between allotment and garden and do both justice. At the moment the garden is suffering. This is something that has been concerning me for some time and an issue that I need to consider carefully. The time may come in the future to say goodbye to the allotment although I don't feel ready to do that just yet.
Plant purchases - over the last couple of months these have included : kalimeris 'Charlotte', hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears' (unfortunately my slugs have not read the blurb which says slug resistant), heuchera 'Georgia Plum' and agapanthus 'Midnight Dream' wended their way home with me from the Southport Flower Show'. Hemerocallis 'Light The Way' which I fell in love with in France this summer was duly tracked down to the Beth Chatto Gardens and a couple of plants were ordered. In September a trip to Abi and Tom's Garden Plants at Halecat in Cumbria resulted in the purchase of pulmonaria 'Blake's Silver', crocosmia 'Honeybells', aster 'King George' and clematis 'Heather Herschell'. Then there was the fabulous salvia 'Amistad' from the nearest garden section of our local improvement store.
With thanks as always to the lovely Helen over at 'The Patient Gardener's Weblog' for so kindly hosting this monthly meme.