September Joys… and Flowers!

September 18th, 2010

I have to ask.  Does September seem like a really busy month to everybody?  For some reason I seem to be running around in circles trying to catch up with myself.   Classes and elbows trying to get things done, if you know what I mean :)  I can hardly contain myself with all the things I’d like to do.   Ah, like writing a little more.  This has been a slow year for the written word, perhaps a year of change.  I’ll get there, and my friends I hope you’ll go with me…  this is the start of such a beautiful season!   

I see change all around, and feel the pace of insects and birds hurrying a bit more, gathering all they can before the fall begins.   Another season of color…

A few days ago I was enjoying watching a few of these Yellow-collared Scape Moths (Cisseps fulvicollis) flying around the goldenrod and this white flower in the Aster family.    The moths were very slow flying, almost like helicopters, and the wings opened up wide just before take-off.

I finally remembered the plant is called White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) and is tremendously abundant at this time of year, along with the goldenrod, which is great for the bees and other pollinators.  So far I’m excited about the season in terms of pollen and nectar for the bees.   We’ve had a few rains, but mostly warm sunny days for the bees to forage, which means a nice fall nectarflow so they can really work to strengthen their hives.  

Last year we had so much rain in autumn that I couldn’t feed the bees enough to carry them through winter.   But now, things are looking up! 

In the picture below a bee is carrying a white colored pollen into the hive (and another one along the bottom-left corner of the picture).  I thought it might have been from the snakeroot flower, but I didn’t see a single bee gathering pollen from that plant- it may only have been something from which they gathered nectar.

Later I realized with a Doh! that the bees were getting the white-colored pollen from our very white Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora), which is growing all over the shed next to the chicken coop.  

Sweet autumn clematis is very easy to grow and has an amazing fragrance with a profusion of white flowers.  I watched the bees fill their tiny pollen baskets with white pollen and fly right back to the hive a hundred yards away.     Each year when the clematis is finished flowering, I cut it back within just a few feet from the ground.  All that growth is just one season!   And I even cut it back a little in July to try and train it around the top of the shed… alas it has a vigorous, wild nature!   It’s covering one window and half the door…

This year I plan to cut it back a little earlier so that I can paint the older shed to match the chicken coop, and fix the rickety old door.   I need to repair and paint our brown garden fence as well.  Some of the cross bars have rotted where they join the posts.  Maybe I can salvage it for a few years more with a little stain/paint and not too much expense?

Sometimes it seems as if everything needs fixed!   Well a lot of them do… and it’s time to get that weedeater out again and really take some of the brush and weeds down, clean up the garden, work on the engines, clean up the barn and garage, organize the desk and downstairs, decorate a little, etc.  

And you know what?   I feel really lucky… really blessed, to be here…  to be able to be in good health, to have so many things to do that need done.   Simply to wake up and watch the sun rise.   Here’s wishing you a great week ahead!

“The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.”

John Updike, September


10 Responses to “September Joys… and Flowers!”

  1. Yes, September seems busy (even for the bees, it appears.) Love that last photo!

  2. How I adore fall!!!

  3. I think it’s sorta all those little jobs I’ve been putting off ’til later in the summer. Well there is no more later.
    And if you inhabit the country even a little, its rhythms are felt far more than say the middle of Chicago or London. So you FEEL that winter is just around the corner. You do not need any calender to tell you.

  4. Where would we be without our fall mums. They seem to last well into November sometimes. A few years ago, we had some that even survived the first frost for another two or three weeks. I’m sure your bees love them.


  5. Ed

    Things have been classes and elbows up here too but mostly at work and not home. I am savoring the chill in the air right now.

  6. I love this time of the year!

  7. Sweet reflections. I’m trying to catch up after being gone foraging for stories in the Texas Hill Country. Will work backward through the posts over the next few days. I enjoy your writing and the life of your land.

    We share a few similar plants or experiences. I had an ageratum variety in my Florida butterfly garden because I heard Kenn Kaufman of nature-book fame tell a group that ageratum is the single best nectar flower for butterflies–attracts more species than any other in his experience. It was good in my garden and looks good in yours too.

    Your clematis is something! Too hot to grow it here so I’ll have to enjoy yours. Post more pictures next spring, please.

    We’re cooling here, days mostly in the low-to-mid 90’s now, and the ruby-throated hummingbirds are SWARMING our feeders! I rescued a first-year male from a golden-orb spider’s web this morning. He’s my today’s wish for the universe, survival and recovery to make his long journey south.

    Glad you’re fall is beautiful and bountiful.

  8. Sage- Glad it’s not just me! I love morning and evening photos…
    Ted- Me too :) I’m sure you’re out and about…
    Vincent- So true… the good news is I’ve forgotten a good many of those jobs I put off! I’m sure I’ll remember them later, but maybe not until next year :)
    Randall- Indeed… they signal the season and are so bright. I need to trim a couple!
    Ed- We haven’t had the chill yet, in fact temps this week into the 90’s, but I’m looking forward to it…
    Pablo- And I hope you’re doing a little sojourning as well. Good to hear from you :)
    Kathleen- I’ll bet it is so much warmer there… thanks for the lovely comment. I’m glad to read of your experience/comments with ageratum, and glad to know it’s here in such abundance! I can’t believe you rescued a hummer from a spider web… surely you’re going to write about that one!

  9. Hard to believe it is late fall as far as the bees go! Yours will have plenty of pollen though!

  10. john updike. one of my faves. how could’ve i missed that?

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