We have got to the time of year when the mornings are dewy and the last flowers are making a brave show amid the wreckage of summer. This seems to have happened very fast. Last week, there was a magnificent array of marigolds and the first sprays of montbretia around the pond. This week there is a scattered few, and I am saving seed for next year.
I have teasel seed, too, and pods of evening primrose
You can see the split in the pod where the seed is ready to fall out. I will have to be careful where I use these seeds – they are prolific, and long-lasting, and will come up everywhere.
The birds are still getting used to the change in the weather. I am aware of robins’ winter song in the hedges and apple trees, and of the daring of one who turns over anywhere I have been digging or clearing, looking for disturbed insects. Starlings arrived, and moved on south, and swallows still appear, the last stragglers from northerly parts, moving ahead of the blustery weather. Geese are here, but in transit, and as I was gardening on Sunday, seven whooper swans flew over the village following the river down towards the Gartmorn dam and Cambus ponds, where there are reserves which will offer them shelter, and where I hope we’ll see them over the winter. The first apples are being harvested.
The birds are coming back into the garden now the fields are being ploughed, little ninja blue tits and great tits emerging from the rowan leaves, the first sparrows doing the bird equivalent of leaving towels on the loungers in the thick privet hedges that make secure hiding places from predators. Sparrowhawks and buzzards follow them back into the village, and you can sometimes spot them, the buzzard circling high over the riverbank, the sparrowhawk cruising the lines of the hedges. Sometime they get ambitious and go for the pigeons that raid the bird feeders, and we find neat circles of grey feathers on the grass.
There are still butterflies, but numbers are thinning, and the wasps and spiders are making themselves evident. The darker evenings make it possible to see bats earlier – they move too fast for me to identify them, but local naturalists have recorded pipistrelles, so I imagine that’s what they are. The deer will be moving into the fields and the reedbeds, moving closer to the village every year, and at the highest tides around the equinox, we’ll be looking for otters, seals coming up following the fish, and even occasionally a porpoise.
Bust as the winter comes closer, poetry gets more lively. Two poets I’ve edited will have pamphlets launched during the next month, and I’ll be reading at LoveCrumbs in the West Port in Edinburgh tomorrow, and at St Ninians’s Library as part of an event celebrating National Poetry Day. There will be an event post about this soon, but the others are up already, along with a workshop I’ll be leading as part of the WriteAngle’s One Weekened in Stirling.
One of those events listed happened yesterday, a fundraiser for Hugh MacDiarmid’s Brownsbank Cottage, which has fallen into disrepair. It was an excellent night, with readings from Richie McCaffery, ( apoet in residence in 2011) Gerry Cambridge, (a Brownsbank Fellow) and Colin Will, and a fascinating and generous introduction and poems from Alan Riach. There was a raffle with irresistible prizes to a MacDiarmid enthusiast, donated by Richie McCaffery. We made a good start on the fund-raising, but there is a long way to go, so please visit the website, and if you can, make a donation.