Each year I am reminded how much I love September.
There is a bitter-sweetness to September. We are aware that summer is lost. At the same time, every warm, sunny day is treasured as a lucky find.
Yesterday we visited Sarah Raven’s garden at Perch Hill. It was pretty much a perfect day out.
We arrived mid-afternoon, and I think we missed the crowds.
We were able to drift around the cutting garden unimpeded by the hoards of linen-clad admirers that have characterised previous visits.
Instead, we were delightfully crowded by the planting. We had to lift up or duck beneath drooping stems.
Fading sunflowers are one of the many delights of September.
2019 has been the summer of the butterfly. We have had an influx of painted lady butterflies, with ten times the average number counted in the annual ‘Big Butterfly Count‘. I have been struck by how many more butterflies of all species I have seen in my garden. Perch Hill was also aflutter. The butterflies loved the single dahlias, rudbeckias, sunflowers, zinnias and cosmos in the cutting garden.
Sarah Raven is known for her wonderful displays of dahlias.
They are grown in such abundance. You can lose yourself in dahlias.
Whilst Sarah Raven’s signature look is bright and bold, she has in recent years experimented with vintage pastels too.
This is the joy of garden visiting. The planting is on a scale that could not be replicated in a domestic garden. So you just marvel and enjoy the spectacle whilst you are here.
I concluded this summer that I do not have the commitment to keep pots watered through summer. And so I enjoy pots in other people’s gardens all the more.
In my exploration of lower-maintenance-but-still-stunning gardening, one of my key plants is the perennial sunflower. I have planted three of these wonderful beasts in my bright border. They are drought-tolerant and provide fresh colour from August through to November.
We indulged, as we always do on garden visits, in tea and cake. This allowed us to soak in the sun and listen to the birds. It was blissful.
The light is so beautiful in September.
It streams in from an angle, rather than beating down from above. It kisses the cheek and the shoulder. I could sit in the September sun all day long.
Verbena rigida makes a gorgeous purple border in the vegetable plot.
Was there ever a more beautiful vegetable plot?
Here is a gorgeous array of dahlias [sigh].
And now a dahlia landscape. This place is dahlia heaven.
But it wasn’t all dahlias. Salvias were the supporting act.
I loved this combination of slightly different varieties of Salvia x jamensis. I will be adding to my collection!
Verbena bonariensis is a fantastic edger for dahlias. You can look through the airy delicacy of verbena onto a sea of dahlias beyond.
Umbels of bronze fennel are also perfect for a titillating contrast in texture.
I have always shied away from yellow, but it is really growing on me. Give me an explosion of yellow dahlias any time.
This photo demonstrates what I mean about September light.
These were the trial beds.
There is no shortage of new dahlias to try for next year!
I have slightly fallen in love with the shaggy ‘Zinderella’ series. It is like a family pet in flower form.
I found myself in a zen state of bliss as we took a last drift around, and floated out of the garden.
Perch Hill has never failed to inspire me. This is aspirational, inspirational gardening.
If I can create even a little smidge of this next year, I will be a happy gardener.
The Mindful Gardener will post sporadically in Autumn and Winter. There will be digging, mulching, planting, and fantasising about Spring.
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