The last view for August this year… hasn’t summer flown by?!
(Look at the colour of the Acer palmatum on the right of the pink rose!)
I am no longer denying it… autumn is most definitely here.
Three weeks earlier than normal.
But nonetheless beautiful.
The large maple at the bottom of the garden is turning red and dropping leaves already. And the changing light, strong breeze and cool temperatures indicate its glory will be all too short as usual! Even the birch is slowly showing a tinge of pale gold.
The grasses are also yellowing while the seedheads flourish.
And the sedums are turning pink too.
As the rain falls again tonight I am happy that my garden is finally getting a good drink.
How is August coming to a close in your part of the world?
It’s been showery and cool, not at all like August. As the occasional red acer leaf drops to the ground, and the swallows gather before flying south, I get the distinct impression that summer is coming to an end.
I experimented with the wide-angled lens for today’s photo, hence the blurry bits!
Not much change since last week.
Our hazel trees have been loaded with nuts this summer. But every morning while having my breakfast there’s a lot of rustling and crunching going on over there. One day I caught one of the culprits in the act…
Now that takes a lot of skill if you ask me, so I think he deserves as many as he can eat. He invited a couple of friends one morning though – two smaller ones with their coats already turning darker as they do in winter. Fortunately we don’t have the non-native grey squirrels in Germany yet, so these red ones are safe for now. (The grey ones carry a virus that can kill our native red ones).
Here he is, a bit closer…. sweet, don’t you think?
I wonder how many nuts will be left for us!
Have you seen signs that summer is coming to a close?
And various mints are flowering so beautifully at the moment too, providing me with the inspiration I needed for this week’s vase…
“In a Vase on Monday” is hosted by Cathy at “Rambling in the Garden“, challenging us to find some materials in our gardens every week for a vase to bring indoors. Today I was planning on cutting the only dahlia flower that has been worth a mention this summer… but I chickened out! So I turned to some old friends for help instead – the herbs.
You can never go wrong with herbs.
Not only do they taste good, they also enrich the garden with attractive foliage and flowers, as well as attracting bees, butterflies and other good creatures.
The lemon verbena has done very well in several pots this summer and should flower soon. The pineapple sage is now flowering more scarcely, but has grown tremendously. Some thyme and oregano are still in flower, so I cut a few sprigs of those, and some of the last lavender also went in. The salad burnet is flowering again, and I also added some of the trailing rosemary.
I actually remembered to add a prop this week…. the gardening catalogues have been arriving for a couple of weeks now, and my lists are not getting any shorter! The largest catalogue is from one of the new online nurseries I discovered this spring; an excellent herb seed and plant supplier. The basil flower above is their Ocimum basilicum“Christmas”, which I grew from seed. It has a lovely warm aroma, tasting slightly of citrus and spices. :D
I was actually planning on making a peach crumble the other day, but then afternoon cake for a visitor was required and this arose from the crumble plans!
I’ve been blogging for almost three years now and as I mentioned on Tuesday I have just topped 700 posts! So please help yourselves to a slice and celebrate with me, and thanks for being out there everyone! :)
Peach Crumble Cake
225g SR flour
50g ground hazelnuts
25g brown sugar
Grease and flour a 9-inch/23cm square cake tin. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
Mix all the dry ingredients together and then rub in the butter with fingertips until nice and crumbly. Mix in about 1-2 tbsps water and put a third of the mixture in a separate bowl: this is the crumble topping. Press the rest firmly into your prepared tin. Chill both the base and the topping while you prepare the fruit filling.
For the filling:
approx. 700g prepared peaches (this was 6 large ones for me), diced but not peeled
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cornflour
squeeze of lemon juice
75g brown sugar
Mix the filling ingredients together and spread over the base. Sprinkle the lumpy crumble topping over the top and bake for 45 minutes or until lovely and brown on top and bubbling.
Leave to cool in the pan a little before slicing, and then allow to cool completely before removing from the pan.
Deliciously sweet and sticky too, I’d recommend this cake with a blob of cream or ice cream. I bet it’s good served warm too!
I’ll be celebrating later this week with another delicious cake recipe, but in the meanwhile here’s the Tuesday view for today:
Can you detect the yellow tinge to everything? We even saw a few orange leaves on our acer yesterday…
But on the positive side, the big heat is over. Phew. And summer is certainly here for a while yet. After all, look at this Perovskia – it’s shouting out summer!
I really love it, although it is starting to spread in the wrong direction. Does anyone know if you can take cuttings, like with lavender? This side of the rockery is pretty well established now, but the other side (beyond the pink rose at the top of the first picture) is very dry with poor shallow soil and lots of stones, so I should like some Perovskia to settle in on that side too.
A final picture for today: I never thought I’d learn to love this Achillea, but next to the rose, mint and Linaria this is a favourite at the moment (after the Perovskia of course!)
Which plant is giving you the most pleasure in your garden right now?
My flowers for this week’s Vase on Monday were leisurely collected on Sunday afternoon – a lovely, breezy summer’s day – possibly the last really hot day of the summer. A thunder storm with heavy rain was forecast for last night… no damage done thank goodness, and I hope those of you in the UK and France can say the same as the remains of ex-hurricane Bertha sweep across Europe.
I just couldn’t resist cutting some more Anemones for my vase this week as they lasted so well last time, as did the Golden Rod and Achillea (still looking good!).
I don’t think I have ever noticed the “rim” around the edge of the petals before.
The Japanese Anemones and the Perovskia are really the only plants that run the risk of being flattened by wind and rain, so with the forecasts yesterday threatening the worst I cut some Perovskia too. (It’s looking a bit squashed today, but will hopefully stand up again when it dries!) The Scabiosa ochroleuca looked so pretty in front of the Perovskia, where it had cleverly seeded itself, so some of that went in too.
And Succisella inflexa ‘Frosted Pearls’ added some airiness. This is a great plant for dry ground, but can be invasive if given the right conditions! I love its little pearly globes in the rockery, attracting even more bees.
The deep reddish pink in the vase comes from the Centranthus ruber (Red Valerian) and a single sprig of Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’… I believe this is also known as Red Bistort.
A few grasses (unidentified!) for the finishing touch, and placed on the hearth I felt it looked – dare I say it – like the beginnings of autumn! Late summer in any case.
Take a look at “Rambling in the Garden“, where other vases are linked in for Cathy’s meme “In a Vase on Monday”. It has grown extremely popular and we all seem to be addicted, so do join in if you can!