August.

When the garden looks its fullest and lush.  Potager burgeoning with organic produce.  Fruit trees dripping with luscious fruit.  Seed-heads ripening .  Some for producing seed for sowing next year and others to feed the birds over the coming Winter.  Teasels, sweet rocket, Russian sorrel, mimulus, toadflax and more.  Dahlias, cosmos, phlox and monardas flowering their socks off and doing their thing to extend the riotous, chaotic colours of Summer into the Autumn…

Dahlias, Tagetes and Hollyhocks before the storm
Fennel and flowering chicory before…
Monarda didymus before…
Monarda Prairenacht before…
The onion beds …with ducks

2020 has been different.  2020 has been different in all sort of ways.  In the garden here the lashing rain and thrashing winds of Storm Francis dictated that the (always reluctant) Autumn ‘tidy up’ this year is happening in August,  So much for the welcoming of imperfection and enjoying the changing seasons and  dynamic natural forces at work in the garden.

The Japanese have a word for the acceptance of transience and imperfection. Wabisabi (侘寂). The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.But, in my view, there’s nothing aesthetically pleasing to the eye about bashed stuff, snapped off dahlias and teasels lying prostrate. Wabi sabi is fine in Autumn into Winter but in August?  No.  So a tidy up it has to be.

Monarda Cambridge Scarlet survived largely undamaged

Onions had been harvested and some seeds gathered before the storm.

Some of the onion crop harvested before…
Sweet rocket and honesty seed heads drying before..
The runner bean tunnel survived with only minor damage
These Heritage peas were harvested when we heard the weather forecast…

We are leaving some areas untouched for the birds, the bees and the butterflies and trying to embrace the situation as an opportunity  to do a bit of editing and some replanting.

Leaving some for the butterflies
Phlox paniculata remained upright and the leek seedheads are only slightly bent…
A bit tidy…replanting in this bed with aquilegia, sweet rocket and evening primrose

But it’s all beginning to look alarmingly neat and tidy for August in our garden.  We’ll be doing elaborate topiary and manicured lawns next…and spraying herbicide on the pea gravel drives?  No, I don’t think so.