This happens every year. I get back from holidays at the end of August, ram all our holiday laundry into the machine, go into overdrive sorting out school uniform and try to remember what it is I do for a living.
We all dive down that helter skelter of back-to-school and back-to-work, and packed lunches and homework and juggling after-school clubs and social events.
Then I go away for a girls’ weekend and come back to TOTAL FREAKING CHAOS!!!
My eldest is having a minor breakdown over her art project. Stevie has held it together but you know, there is nothing like your mum asking you to tidy your room to induce a fit of if-this-is-the-second-week-of-term-how-am-I-going-to-make-it-to-Christmas?!!!
So I introduce my daughter to her homework planner. And the concept of clearing a desk space so that you can put your laptop down flat, rather than balancing it on a teetering pile of art materials, phone chargers and stray socks. We’re prioritising which GCSEs to stress about and which to just-try-hard-enough-to-not-get-a-detention. We’re learning to breathe. And stretch. And to ask for help.
We’ve mopped up the tears, untangled the phone chargers, filled a waste paper basket and a laundry basket, had a hug and labelled some files. I’ve plied her with chocolate and left her with her laptop, and now I am going out into the garden.
I can feel the sun on my face.
And listen to the hum of the bees.
And I am ignoring all that washing on the line.
The cosmos is looking like an unmade bed.
So I set to work with the snippers.
Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Double Click Cranberries’ has been a weedy affair for much of the summer, but a little neglect seems to have done it good.
I love its rumpled sheets.
There is a sense of abundance now.
And fun. This looks like a two-tier bloom.
Nicotiana is enjoying the cooler, shorter days. In the heat wave its flowers were closing up, but now they stay open to enjoy the sun.
They shimmer again.
Nigella damascena ‘Midnight’ is looking magical.
And just a little bit witchy.
It is, after all, the season of spiders.
The dahlias are standing out against the laurel hedge.
Dahlia ‘Purple Dream’ is like a waterlily.
I love it with Dahlia ‘American Dawn’.
The zinnias are mostly looking good, though I have tugged out a few ‘Cupid Mixture’ which were starting to look wizened.
Zinnia ‘Queen Red Lime’ has been a joy. Here she is with Dahlia ‘Vino’ behind. I love palest apricot with magenta pink.
I like the variation in her colours. These ones are a dark, dusky pink.
This is Dahlia ‘Vino’.
The colour is fading a little, but I love a good ombre.
The most bouffanty dahlia prize goes to ‘Blue Bayou’.
Dahlia ‘Waltzing Matilda’ continues to delight me with its watermelon exuberance.
It has subtlety too.
These scabious are going to take some time to tease out. To deadhead it, you have to trace back the stems of the seedheads to quite low down on the plant.
It’s a bit like untangling phone charger cables.
But after a bit of a comb, they’ll be back to looking fresh-faced, and ready for a new day.
I’ll cut a few for my daughter’s desk. They’ll look nice with the pots of pencils and pens and the regrowth of socks and charger cables.
Are you flying by the seat of your pants this September? What do you do to de-stress?
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