It has been rather chilly first thing in the morning lately and today there was a damp mist to emphasise the arrival of autumn. The memories of the excessive heat of a few weeks ago are beginning to fade.
The drought has taken its toll on some of the crops in the vegetable plots. Some never really got fully underway, such as celery which really does benefit from moist soil. Others, such as courgettes, ran out of steam quicker than usual. Salady things struggled to get established but, now with cooler conditions and some rain, we have a fine row of Cos lettuce. Runner and French beans have finally responded to the late rain and are now providing a belated harvest. On the other hand, the tender greenhouse crops have thrived very well indeed.
The last week or two I have been clearing away some of the spent vegetable plants, digging up the remainder of the potatoes and pruning out fruited canes. A gradual process of decline and dismantling but with thoughts of the next growing season in mind.
The noted Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu captured this cycle of life in one of his poems:-
Taking Down a Trellis by Du Fu (712-770)
The sticks I tied already wither and fall,
The gourd leaves are getting sparse and thin.
It's lucky that the white flowers fully grew,
You have to help the green vines fade away.
There's no end to the sound of insects in autumn,
Whatever's in the minds of the sparrows at dusk?
Now, the world is one of cold and waste;
Human life has its beginning too.