September is moving on apace now, and every day I see more signs of early autumn. Summer is slipping ever so gently away and the garden is slowing and winding down. Plants are looking quite tired now, and there are fewer flowers to find. We had a warm, cloudless day on Sunday and I went into the garden to pick fruit and a few flowers. The fennel has gone to seed and is a lovely greenish, mustardy shade of yellow. When I put a seed head on the garden table it made the most wonderfully defined shadow.
On our recent camping trip to North Cornwall I bought a couple of pottery items. I always seem to come home with a little souvenir from our holidays, not usually expensive and often free, like shells, pebbles or flowers for drying. This time, however, some tactile, hand-made ceramics called to me in the softest bird's-egg shades of cream and pale blue. I have quite a few items of pale blue stoneware at home. I just love that colour. Here's a pretty little jug with the acid-yellow fennel complementing that sky blue.
Next to it is a little candle holder which I also bought. Yes, that's in pale blue too - you know me well, don't you? It's an ingenious candle holder because it also has a little section around it which you can fill with water and flowers.
I put fennel, pale lilac scabious and bright purple verbena bonariensis in it.
Here's how it looks without the flowers. Clever, isn't it? I know I'm going to make good use of this!
Out in the sunshine I picked some more blackberries and raspberries, and started to pick the apples which are beginning to fall from the tree. Our little apple tree has really done itself proud this year and produced masses of apples. It certainly produced a lot of blossom back in April, so it's not surprising. I've taken many of the apples to work for my colleagues, as I can't use them all and hate to see any to go to waste.
The raspberries are having a second flush and are absolutely enormous, and the blackberries are a thornless variety. I love blackberries. For me they epitomise this late summer/early autumn season.
Later that day we met up with my brother and his family at Stonehenge which is less than an hour's drive away. Despite never having lived far away from this world-famous prehistoric site we have never been as a family, although both P and I can remember being taken there as children (back in the days when you could wander around the stones and touch them!). My two little nephews loved running in and out of the reconstructed neolithic huts.
I must admit they looked quite cosy - this one even had a little porch.
This one is very sweet, and quite tiny. Its wizard-hat shape made me smile.
It's a half-hour walk to the stones from the visitor centre, so we walked there and caught the shuttle bus back. On such a warm, sunny day there were lots of visitors, many international, and everyone followed a walk which encircled the stones.
It's hard to see this iconic place with fresh eyes, but it is an amazing sight.
We've driven past and sat in traffic jams on the A303 many times over the years, and watched the tourists walking around the stones. It always looked as if they were quite a distance from them, but we were pleasantly surprised at how close the path went.
Salisbury Plain is a vast open area of chalk downland, and Stonehenge sits solidly in this timeless landscape, a link to our long-distant past. I love its gentle grassy hills and big skies.
I'm glad we finally made it here. This golden Sunday afternoon was one to treasure.
(Before I go I just want to say thank you for all your lovely comments on my recent blog posts. This month is turning out to be much busier than expected, and my visits to blogland are a bit patchy at the moment. I'm hoping to catch up properly soon!)