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August in the Garden

posted 13 Oct 2011, 12:28 by Gary Swainson   [ updated 13 Oct 2011, 12:29 ]
Growing up as a farmers son, August was always a busy month. Although farming was never going to be my future, there were, and still are many things I love about the countryside at this time of year - such as eating outdoors. Sat on a straw bale in a newly cut field, the combination of conversation, slightly soggy, warm sandwiches and the smell of a newly harvested field was one of the few aspects of farming that appealed to me.

August is still a busy month for me, but in different ways now. Hawks bred this year are now ready to be taken from the aviary and trained. I love their newness. Every feather is perfect. Beaks and feet are clean and shiny like newly moulded plastic, and the anticipated characters that will de velop in each bird is a treat to look forward to.

Everything in the garden is bursting with the last big firework display of colour before the inevitable fading into September and the onset of autumn.

But its not only flowers that are taking advantage of the long ,warm,( if a little damp ) days. Dragon flies are emerging from lavae that would not be out of place in a bad dream and taking to the skies surrounding the pond, their aerial skills unsurpassed by any other winged insect. They are mesmerising to watch as they dart around the garden hawking insects.

Tiny, newly mobile toad and frogletts  are creeping from the pond into their winter home among the long grass.It's hard to believe when there are so many of them that so few will survive to make it back to the pond next year.

But for me one of the most fascinating events in the garden this year was the forming of a wasps nest in the potting shed. Built without my noticing, it was too large to remove without my feeling guilty for its occupants. The tapestry of different coloured wood that they painstakingly, harvest, pulp and with artisan precision,  layer to build their home is a canvas that Monet himself would have been envious of. I can even pick out seams of green, red cedar and sea breeze blue from the stain I have used on wood around the garden.

Yes, the height of summer it certainly is and as usual nature is making hay while the sun shines