It’s Wednesday Vignette time again! The first one of the autumn.
I take a lot of close-up photos of plants and insects, but I chose to showcase this landscape shot — taken yesterday from the parking lot at Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) in Quechee, Vermont — because it speaks of the movement of summer into early fall. Some leaves have fallen, though most are still green and on the trees. In the meadow, aster and goldenrod bloom, along with echinacea, clover, and grasses. There are spent mullein and penstemon stalks. Bees still buzz about, high temps still hover around 70, but change is a-coming. Before long, there will be snow on the mountain top in the distance.
September is slipping by, summer is slipping by, but I’m happy to report that after a few rainy days where we barely hit 60F, the forecast highs for the rest of the week are about 80F, with lows in the 50Fs. Linger longer, summer.
Here’s what’s in bloom now, for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.
And cosmos, scarlet runner beans, gerberas, and other flowery sorts as well:
A few perennials that have been blooming for the last month are still going strong,too:
Some perennials are just getting started:
I almost missed the fall crocus:
The sedums shine this time of year:
As do the grapes, apple, fungi, and squash:
Not strictly blooms but worthy of attention nonetheless:
And some landscape shots to end the show; come back in October!
If you want more September garden beauty, check out these great blogs:
Lee at A Guide to Northeast Gardening on Long Island, NY, U.S.
Jessica at Rusty Duck in southwest England, UK
Linda at Whatsitgarden in Portland, OR, U.S.
Flutter & Hum in the Pacific Northwest U.S.
Loree at Dangergarden in Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Jason at Garden in a City in Evanston, IL, U.S.
Pat at Commonweeder in Massachusetts, U.S.
“Then followed that beautiful season…summer…Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light, and the landscape lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.” — Henry Wordsworth Longfellow
This is how this quote often appears online, as a reference to the summer season, but in its original context, Longfellow’s Evangeline, the description is actually of autumn:
“Now had the season returned, when the nights grow
colder and longer,
And the retreating sun the sign of the Scorpion enters.
Harvests were gathered in; and wild with the winds of
Wrestled the trees of the forest, as Jacob of old with the
All the signs foretold a winter long and inclement.
Bees, with prophetic instinct of want, had hoarded their
Till the hives overflowed; and the Indian hunters asserted
Cold would the winter be, for thick was the fur of the
Such was the advent of autumn. Then followed that
Called by the pious Acadian peasants the Summer of All-
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;
and the landscape
Lay as if new-created in all the freshness of childhood.
Voices of children at play, the crowing of cocks in the
Whir of wings in the drowsy air, and the cooing of pigeons,
All were subdued and low as the murmurs of love, and the
Looked with the eye of love through the golden vapors
While arrayed in its robes of russet and scarlet and yellow,
Bright with the sheen of the dew, each glittering tree of
Flashed like the plane-tree the Persian adorned with
mantles and jewels.”
It’s still summer here in some respects — hot weather (83F as I began this post late morning two days ago), high humidity, dragonflies and bees busily working, hummingbirds speeding and dodging by all day long, grasshoppers leaping from under each footfall, flowers still blooming, summer harvest (especially of green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers) still coming in strong, rains delayed — but in other respects, autumn is beginning: sunset at about 7 p.m. now instead of 8:30 p.m. as it was in late June, deciduous trees and shrubs turning red, yellow, brown, and dropping leaves, nuts and copious pinecones on the ground, fungi popping up in the woods in spite of the lack of rain, wood asters starting to bloom.
So many fungi on the local trails lately:
I think the blue spruce is expecting a hard winter:
Today, I have returned to this post, after two nights of rain. It’s 68F in the early afternoon, with the next week’s high temperatures forecast in the 60s and 70s, lows firmly in the 50s.
The rains bent the back border to the ground:
You can see that the veronicastrum (Culver’s Root) is starting to turn:
The asters in the garden are just starting to bud; soon they will be covered in bumblebees in haste to make honey while the summer shines.
By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather,
And autumn’s best of cheer.
(from “September” by Helen Hunt Jackson)
It’s Wednesday Vignette time again! How quickly those weeks do pass.
I’m choosing a blossom from a globe amaranth (Gomphrena sp.), an annual here. I bought it from the local farm stand in late June or early July and it looks like a winner, going strong here in early September.
What I especially like about this photo is the ant, of course, but more, that something about the flower — the fuschia, the yellow bits, its shimmery nature — reminds me of a ballgown, or a ballroom, which cast my mind back to 1975 and the TV movie Queen of the Stardust Ballroom, with Maureen Stapleton and Charles Durning. I have always remembered it as sad, poignant, imbued with regret and melancholy, but apparently (on reading the synopsis), it’s the story of finding love again. I think the nostalgia of the 1940s ballroom music and the yearning of the main characters left me with a forlorn feeling, long after the plot faded in memory, or maybe it was something (also lost to memory, if so) that my mother said while we were watching it.
Today I found the whole movie online. The first 30 seconds of the credits, with the shimmering ballroom lights and mirrors splashing onto the floor, looks like this flower to me … minus the ant — but perhaps the ant is dancing as well.
Here’s mine, the start of a simple broccoli head with light and shadow and some Sungold tomatoes in the background.
“For we constantly deal with practical problems, with moulders, contractors, derricks, stonemen, trucks, rubbish, plasterers and what-not-else, all the while trying to soar into the blue.”— Augustus Saint-Gaudens
I recently re-visited Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, administered by the National Park Service, in Cornish, NH, just on the border with Windsor, Vermont.
It’s not a garden per se, though there is a small formal garden on the grounds, and a birch allée, some fountains, other plantings.
Saint-Gaudens is the home, studios, and land of American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, whose Standing Lincoln monument and Shaw Memorial are among his most famous. More than 100 of art works — many of them large sculptures — fill the galleries and grounds. (I didn’t take many art photos.)
On summer Sunday afternoons, there are concerts to which people bring picnic snacks, wine, books to read, crossword puzzles to complete, knitting to work on as they get comfortable in the 75-seat Little Studio or in its grape-vine-covered portico, in the nearby gardens, and on the expansive lawns.
It’s quite a lovely experience, particularly this past weekend, when a young string trio called Trio Arrivadolce played Germaine Tailleferre, Mendelssohn, Ravel, and Dvořák. Violinist Alexi Kenney, cellist SuJin Lee, and guest pianist Larry Wang were quite astonishing, earning — one of the volunteers told me — a very rare standing ovation from the crowd. Wang, in particular, excelled in his piano solo of Ravel’s La Valse, usually rendered by a full orchestra.
I went hoping to see more butterflies than I have seen so far this summer in our area, but I didn’t see any at Saint-Gaudens on this day. There were many bees (many types and many in numbers, as there are in my garden), a few dragonflies, some frogs, and even a cicada, which I hadn’t realised inhabited NH since we don’t hear the persistent loud buzz one hears in the Mid-Atlantic states in summer.
A walk down and back up the fairly steep but short ravine trail ends at the Temple, which holds Saint-Gaudens’ ashes.
I enjoyed strolling the gardens listening to the strings playing on a warm summer’s day. The monkshood in particular caught my attention today.
Visit if you get a chance, especially on a summer Sunday afternoon.