The yard is alive with birds: sparrows, finches, even a big black crow. They are eating voraciously at all the feeders. The finches are feeding on nyger, on sunflower seeds, on regular birdseed. The sparrows are not that picky; they’ll eat just about anything they can get their beaks on.
There were hummingbirds in the garden earlier, too, even though the honeysuckle is sulking by refusing to put out blooms. I can’t decide whether this is happening because of the dry hot summer or if it’s due to competition from the oak tree sapling that the squirrel planted right beside it. (I really should take that out.) Regardless, the honeysuckle has not bloomed since spring time.
The birds must be starving. I am sure wild fruit and seed must be very scarce in the woods. I am glad that I didn’t have much time to deadhead the perennial beds this summer. The birds will have something to raid all winter.
The second batch of swallowtails is ready to emerge from their parsley worm cocoons, too. There were 30 parsley worms on one plant two weeks ago. They literally ate themselves out of house and home and many of them starved when they had finally stripped the plants clean of all their greenery. I have only seen one swallowtail, however.
Last night, we watched a whole army of ants moving from one nest to another. They were marching across the pavement from one part of our garden to another, eggs in tow, clearly looking for another home. I wonder why?
The garden still looks lovely. The white phlox are all in bloom and this is where the hummingbird is feeding – not their favourite colour, but any honeypot in a drought, I guess. The purple fountain grass is in full bloom, too, rising above the blue wave petunias and the lime green sweet potato vine. My cherished purple smokebush is seven feet tall this year – it dies back every winter in this tough climate. Lime, yellow and burgundy are keynotes in the garden this year. It just sort of happened as it always does, when a greater consciousness than mine takes a hand in putting together my garden colours. But I get all the credit.
It’s a noisy yard: the squirrel is quite perturbed and is scolding something with great emphasis. The birds are proclaiming their territories. CBC is droning away in the background. I can hear the sizzle of the neighbour’s dinner on their barbecue. The sun is low on the horizon, it’s evening glow kissing everything it reaches with gold. We can feel the cool breath of autumn on our cheeks even as the radio predicts temperatures in the 30’s C next week.
Claire goes home to Toronto on Tuesday. I will go to Wales the following week. The WSO opens its season just after I return. We went to the lovely Barge Concert (no barge this year – the river is too high) and lost ourselves, Clair and I, in the lovely music and the magic of the late summer air.
It feels to me as though fall is already well underway.