I seem to remember words to a song going like this,’Summertime, and the living is easy’. I suppose that living is easier in the summer and there is so much to enjoy. I love the blue skies and the sun shining but I don’t like it too hot. The garden is full of different insects. The bees are bussing around the cotoneaster hedge and in the many other flowers.
The young birds are learning to fly and to use the bird feeder. It can be amusing to watch them as they find a way to perch on the feeder. There are so many of them this year. There must have been at least 3 different nests in my hedge as the broods of fledglings arrive in fours and fives.
I already have a lot of flowers in bloom and many more to come as summer progresses. I can see ladybirds in plenty and other flying insects. Soon there may be damselflies and dragonflies as one of my neighbours has a pond.
The hedge is alive with the noise of the birds and insects. It is also very green. One of the things I love about this time of the year is how green everything is, so alive.
But now the Summer Solstice has passed the night is creeping slowly over the day, making each day that little bit shorter. Years ago I wrote a poem for the Solstice. Here it is now;
It is the time of the longest day
When the Sun is at the height of its power
And as the Sun watches over us and feeds us all
So we feed our Inner Fire.
May the power of the One unite us all
Bringing hope and peace to our planet;
May the Ancient Wisdom, the Eternal Truth,
Be warmed by the Sun this day
Let us join together in peace and love,
Let the Sun shine within our hearts,
Let the Child of Light guide us on our way,
As our world is filled with peace and love.
It has been a long hot dry summer but the last couple of weeks have brought us some rain which has been very good for the garden. One day last week I opened the door, as I do every day, to let in the fresh air and to give thanks for all around me. This particular morning was different than the previous ones. It was cooler and fresher but there was also a distinctive feel and smell of the coming autumn. It’s not something I find easy to put into words but the feel and smell is something I recognise and know that autumn is on its way.
Looking back at the days of summer I see lots of flowers, their wonderful colours still there for the coming days. I noticed the number of birds too. I have a large thick hedge at the top of my garden and it has been home to several broods of birds, blackbirds, sparrows and robins. It has been a wonderful experience to watch them grow into adult birds. This last week a sparrowhawk visited as well. Luckily all the smaller birds were safe in the hedge and surrounding bushes.
I have also noticed the large number of bees visiting the flowers. But many of the flowers are there specifically for that purpose, to attract the bees. There are not so many now but they are still coming finding other plants attractive when their favourite ones have finished flowering.
There has been a large number of different butterflies visiting the flowers especially the buddleias which are commonly known as butterfly bushes. I have also seen damselflies and dragonflies whizzing around the garden but not often settling for photos! The plum tree and the brambles (which are not really wanted as they stop other plants from growing) have done exceptionally well and I have lots of fruit in my freezer. There were so many plums that I have been giving them to neighbours. Someone said it must be the fifth year as you get an abundant crop every five years.
But what I have noticed the most is the abundance of everything. There has been wonderful colour, and food for everything that comes into the garden, and watching the birds trying to get the blackberries and plums has been entertaining at times.
So now the season is changing and there will be different things to watch and to do as well. But my main thought at this point in time is ‘Abundance!’
The other day I heard someone say that they didn’t generally get out and look at things. But do we not always look at things and not go out especially to do that? Maybe not. My thoughts at the time were about missing so much of what is out there around us. But then again I generally walk everywhere or use a mobility scooter as I do not drive.
So let’s look at what I see when I walk into town. I live on a hill which helps me to see much more of the town below me and the far distance. Generally I first notice the parked cars and people walking to work or school. Then I notice the flowers in the gardens as I pass by. I see that some are blooming now but last time I went past they were only in bud. I see the bees and the butterflies taking advantage of these flowers. In the distance I see the church and other tall buildings and in the far distance I can see the tops of houses and some trees. I cross the road and walk down the hill by the side of the cattle market complex. There are lots of shrubs by the wall of the building which houses the sheep and some of these shrubs have flowers. So there are lots of bees around. There are also many small birds which have most likely nested in the top of the building which has open sides. They chitter chatter as I walk past. There is a lot of traffic with many cars having loud music going on and also many people are walking. I wonder if they see what I see. I hear the sounds of the sheep and the cattle as they are put into pens ready to be sold. Now I am ready to cross another road into the town itself and my walk there has been full of interesting sights and sounds.
So here is another example. One day I was sitting in the town park watching the ducks with their tiny offspring on the pond. The ducklings were busy exploring the plants on the pond and then when they were tired they came out and curled up to sleep at the side in the bushes. There were also moorhens with their youngsters but they seemed to prefer a different part of the pond. The gentle breeze made the branches of the trees move and rustle and birds flitted amongst them. There were ripples on the pond caused by the ducks and moorhens as they swam around. I occasionally caught sight of a few damselflies and butterflies too. Across the other side of the pond a man was sleeping on a bench. While I was there he got up and walked away. I could hear the traffic on the main road but it did not really disturb the peace of the pond.
There are so many people who walk around and do not see what is around them. They never look up or down for that matter and often have a mobile phone by their ear. What a lot they are missing!
What do you see?
Although the calendar tells me it is the 1st of May I am not so sure about the weather. We have had snow, hail, a mini tornado and heavy rain together with a bitterly cold wind this last week. I feel sorry for the birds who have hatchlings, the butterflies and other insects who now find it too cold to survive and the trees just coming into bud where some leaves have now frizzled up with the cold wind.
This happened earlier in the year. December and January were mild until the last ten days or so in January when we had heavy frosts which killed off a lot of sprouting leaves and plant shoots. Yet nature carries on and recovers albeit slowly. Once it gets warm I hope to see lovely blossoms and bright flowers attracting the bees and butterflies. My forsythia is in full bloom now but much later than it should be.
One thing I noticed this week when I went into the gardens in town was a notice about bees and a bee friendly flower bed. Someone else told me that this is normal for our council and for me I find it a very positive outlook for a change. Now is the time to make sure our gardens attract wild life of all kinds so they stay with us and do not die out. Is your garden friendly towards wild life? Do you plant bee friendly flowers and shrubs?