The Heather Moon

I love the Native American way of naming moons according to the season. Certainly, Corn Is In The Silk Moon would be a very apt name for this time of year here . . .

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. . . but for me, this is the Heather Moon. It is everywhere, purpling the banks around the house, the verges in the lanes, the woodlands, the rocky places and the mountainsides in every shade from palest lilac to richest magenta.

PICT0448 (2).JPGTaking some time out from renovation work, we followed its colourful trail high into the mountains a little further up our valley; so high, in fact, that we ended up in the clouds. Still, the views remained stunning and I am always in awe of the ingenuity and resilience of generations of human beings who have settled areas such as these, building houses and farms on the steepest and narrowest of ridges.

 

PICT0381 (2).JPGHigher still, and it was amazing how quickly we were in wilderness: no doubt in our minds that this was wolf country. We didn’t see any wolves but instead, sitting at the top of a high pass with awesome views down to the coast, we were treated to the magnificent sight of a pair of vultures wheeling over us with their mighty wingspans. The trip down was all heather and hairpins . . . oh, and a rather charming and relaxed traffic jam!

PICT0382 (2).JPGThere has definitely been a subtle shift in the colours of the landscape this week, a gentle reminder that we have tipped into the last month of summer. There are more golds and browns amongst the greens now as grassy hilltops burn up and maize fields wave pollen-heavy flowers like golden banners.

PICT0457 (2).JPGSomehow the change in light has made colours in the garden more intense, the French marigolds, rainbow chard, sunflowers and borlotti beans showing off their bright hues under sun or cloud.

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There are vibrant colours in flowers I have planted . .

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. . . and those that have appeared by themselves.

PICT0415.JPGRoger described the sunflowers in the veg patch as looking like a fountain and it’s a very apt description as they shoot skywards in a starburst of yellows and browns. One over-enthusiastic plant, too tall and top heavy in the dry ground, toppled over the fence into the lane and broke its stem completely. Sad, as there were still so many buds to come, but we have been enjoying the casualties as a splash of sunshine on the kitchen table. They are such incredible structures, almost surreal, which never fail to make me smile.

PICT0405 (3).JPGThere are some new delicately tinted beauties in the garden, too. The morning glory that grows wild in such abandon here is rich and velvety in imperial purple and indigo; I was slightly disappointed to see the long-awaited first flowers on the ones I planted couldn’t have been more different . . . but I suppose they have a simple charm in their pale hues.

PICT0419 (2).JPGWe have been enjoying the deep purply-black French ‘Bonica’ aubergine and the marbled green Spanish ‘Berenja de Almagro’; now it’s the turn of the rather beautiful Italian Rosa de Bianca – ciao, bella!

PICT0425.JPGPale beauty, too, in the new crop of peaches. The large juicy yellow ones more or less over, now it’s the turn of their smaller, more delicate cousins, white-fleshed with a rose blush around the stone. Small and sweet, these are perfect little dessert peaches.

PICT0440.JPGThere’s a little seasonal nuttery going on amongst the fruit trees.

PICT0437.JPGIt’s funny how fragrance has changed along with colours this week. One of my greatest pleasures this year has been the perfume of sun-warmed lavender from plants raised from seed last year. We have never been able to grow good lavender anywhere we have lived but at long last I think we’ve cracked it: the flowers and scent have been heavenly bee magnets for several months. However, recent days have seen a change in the perfume pecking order and now the garden is full of the heady fragrance of Japanese quince. I’m not complaining, it’s like nothing else and completely gorgeous!

PICT0431.JPGYesterday was a day of sunshine and high humidity which turned to rumbling thunder and short, sharp storms in the late afternoon. Having been driven in from the garden by a particularly heavy cloudburst, I witnessed a lovely scene through the kitchen window: a family of wagtails – seven in all – splashing and bathing in the barn troughing, literally using the run-off water like a power shower! They’re very well camouflaged in the photo – grey on grey –  but it just goes to show not everything in nature needs to be bursting with colour to be wonderful. 🙂

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3 thoughts on “The Heather Moon

  1. We also have descriptive months (called Moons) in Finland. Your present Heather Moon is called Crop Moon in Finnish – at the end of the coming week we are in Autumn Moon; after that come the Mud Moon, the Dead Moon, the Christmas Moon…

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  2. I think it’s a much more imaginative way of describing months than the Latin names . . .although as tongue in cheek gardeners, it would be too tempting to think in terms of Late Frost Kills The Beans Moon . . . 🙂

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  3. Mud Moon could be any moon in winter! Definitely Heather Moon here too at the moment. Your Japanese quinces are enormous! Our first three little quinces are just turning yellow. And we have exactly two hazel nuts this year. At least it’s a proof of concept. The tree must be at least 10 years old. Enjoy the autumn harvest!

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