A September Garden



Although I consider we’re on the downward slope now into winter I do love this time of year. Rich autumnal colours and bright spangly berries are beginning to appear, though we’re not quite there yet – next month will be the firework display. Meanwhile, here’s a chance to enjoy some late summer flowering plants.



Bee on Potentilla

Bee on Potentilla

Autumn Asters

Autumn Asters

Last crop of tomatoes

Last Crop of Tomatoes


Air Freshener

I used to walk past a pub garden on my way to work and about this time of the year the most wonderful perfume used to emanate from it. The source was puzzling; the garden was mostly planted with evergreen shrubs and no flowers were present. It took me ages to work out that the source of the smell came from this particular shrub – called Elaeagnus – as the flowers are so tiny and hidden deep within the foliage. I now have one in my front garden by the path, and enjoy its lily-like fragrance every time I step outside the door.

Red admiral on buddleia

Red Admiral on Buddleia

Enjoying the last of the buddleia blooms. Red Admirals can overwinter as adult butterflies, commonly sheltering in a dry shed or under the eaves of a roof. They can become active on warmer winter days.

Spider with lunch

Spider with Lunch

Come September I can’t move for spiders. Diadem spiders have a knack for constructing webs right across the garden path. Although their webs are little over 18 inches diameter it’s not unusual to have an 8 foot supporting guy rope of silk stretched from one shrub to another, usually either side of a path or just where I have to get to. Many a time I have nearly been decapitated. Only this morning a spider built a very fine web right across the back door. Not wanting to be imprisoned I had to break it. A spider will eat the silk (highly proteinous) from its broken web and recycle it into a new web, so all is not lost.

robin crop


Early autumn heralds the return of the robin. Well actually they’ve never really been away, but they always seem to keep a low profile during late spring and summer. I heard my first proper robin evensong of the autumn the other day, and what a welcome sound it was too. I used to live in a high-rise on a major dual carriageway. Across the road was a copse, and during the colder months you could hear a robin singing quite clearly in the middle of the night, even above the roar of the traffic. Magical. Here’s a photo of a bold little robin who visited the Rowley Gallery one day last summer. He just flew into the workshop to make a whistle-stop inspection of the framing.

Frames of reference

4 thoughts on “A September Garden”

  1. Your garden notes give great pleasure Karen, thank you. I live high up in a flat but have a balcony and will seek out a perfumed Elaeagnus to attempt growing in a pot. The spider news & this morning’s glistening zigzag threads from my washing line to hanging basket remind me of the amazing yellow cloth made from Madagascar spider silk exhibited at the V&A in 2012.


  2. Thanks, Susie. Elaeagnus should grow well in a pot, but keep it pruned otherwise it’ll take over your balcony. My particular variety is E. ‘Gilt Edge’, though I think all varieties will smell. You may have to order it online.
    Thanks for the link to the cape & shawl (beautiful) – I seemed to have missed that first time round. Artists have occasionally made use of cobwebs by using them instead of a canvas, though they are pretty rare objects.

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