The month begins in the lap of summer: Mulberry sorbet, warm days and school out. But autumn begins to show itself as fungi appear and an edge of cold and death appears. It also marks the my transition away from the garden. The reflective poems at the end of each month were written in the succeeding year drawing on the words I had written previously, but in August 2012 I leave London for Wales. Perhaps in so doing I am seeking a deeper immersement in what I have discovered in the garden.


August 2

Coming out into the garden and again there is a flurry of birds fleeing through the undergrowth. Today one popped up onto the fence and then into the holly tree which was slim and dark, maybe a Garden Warbler. What else it could be I cannot think. With the school having finished the builders have once more moved in at the bottom of the garden and they generate a profusion of weird sounds, screeching and straining in a most peculiar way as if they were torturing some poor building. At this time of the year, with the undergrowth at its most luxuriant, the sacred offerings from over the wall tend not to be so visible. But today a tiny bottle of Bell's whiskey appeared

August 3

The garden remains full of blackbirds and mulberries. The blackbirds are very keen on a bit of sunbathing, this one stretched out on our garden fence

August 4

Today rain. Not all day but persistent heavy showers all through the day. I had forgotten what it was like. I didn't go out but peered at the garden through the window glass and felt cold.

August 9

A warm day in the garden. The Mulberry tree is abundant this year and I take the stepladder to gather its abundant fruits. But it also brings death. I found the carcass of a wood pigeon on the lawn today, probably killed by the rectory cat who has been lurking around the tree. The carcass was covered in greenbottles thronging its bloodied flesh.


August 11

Although the weather is unsettled with many showers of rain and the occasional wet day, the Mulberry tree is working its summer magic. Sorbet has been made from its fruits and everyone who visits is invited into the Mulberry experience. A few refuse but most are seduced by the black ripeness. On a warm afternoon the garden is full of insects and they are particularly attracted to the Mimosa which is alive with buzzing life. Deeper in the garden the plums are swelling and ripening.


August 16

An unsettled weekend feeling distinctly autumnal. The mulberries are beginning to turn and rot on the tree but the blackberries are abundant in the plums beginning to ripen. A blackbird wing on the lawn, a victim, no doubt of the rectory cat. A curious trail of white circles on our lawn this morning, which look like polo mints but how they got there I've no idea.


August 18

Yesterday was cold and wet with a close gray sky making autumn feel very near. The white buds of puffballs had reappeared on the lawn and my eye was drawn to the yellowing elder tree which looks as if it is dying. But this morning the sun was bright and the sky was blue. The puffballs had swollen into shiny white golf balls as if they were nestling in the rough at St. Andrews and we are in summer once more.


August 19

The law has been mown and now has a garden party smoothness to it. In the process my puffballs were obliterated and are now nothing more than white smudges on the green carpet.

August 20

I enjoyed some quality time with the cat this morning in the garden who was very attentive. But like me she is always keeping her eyes open for what is happening in the garden, even if her intentions are more carnivorous than mine.

August 23

Overnight heavy rain and today strong winds with squally showers. The garden felt bleak and cold, although it is still humid and when the clouds were blown away the sun was bright. The blackberries are beginning to rot on the bushes, but the Michaelmas Daisies are bringing spots of color to the garden as it turns over into autumn. All the plums have disappeared from the tree before any tasting could take place

August 25

The rain came in as the day progressed and as I came back from my walk around the park I saw this apple perched on the top of the garden gate. Closer inspection revealed the bite marks which are obviously those of a squirrel which I have often seen carrying apples, potatoes and even mangoes


August 31

Summer changes into autumn. The mulberries have now all gone although a few hard red unripened fruit remain, but their flocks of starlings and blackbirds have gone and the garden is quiet, except for the chirruping of chaffinches. They were flitting about under the canopy of the Mulberry which is a very lovely place, especially now as the leaves begin to turn yellow. The lawn continues to produce puffballs, some of which today I picked and had for breakfast, bland compared to mushrooms are perfectly acceptable. Also on the lawn, the mummified head of a dog, or perhaps it was a fox. Very strange.


Sorbet has been madeflower

The fruit has now been gleaned
and the fullness gathered
Ripeness is swelling under summer sun
and harvest looms before the autumn comes
We doze in heat
sleep in sweltered daze
And feed on the careless luxury
the world unfurls