The days are short now in Northumberland.  Today started grey (with an hour of rain) so the daylight was slow in arriving but it was a mild, soft day, perfect for transplanting.

Reluctantly I cleared most of the summer annuals – tall, rangy plants with only a flower or two left to justify their space in the border – and set about dividing the perennials for replanting. Six tiny plants of ox-eye daisy had grown into six enormous clumps which took some effort to split with the aid of two garden forks.  The rose campion (Lychnis coronaria) which comes with the garden had been multiplying while my back was turned.  I transplanted more than forty clumps to surround the smaller lawn and consigned many more seedlings to the compost heap. The grey, felted leaves will be a good foil to spring bulbs but the campion’s late summer flowers are a particularly vivid shade of rose-purple, better in (relative) moderation.

The sky cleared towards sunset and, as the light started to take on a rosy glow, a skein of geese flickered over the horizon and turned in a wide arc, high over the garden.  Another, larger party followed, gossiping companionably as they passed overhead.  Interlocking Vs bulged, narrowed and merged as hundreds of birds sketched trembling lines on the sky.

I watched until the honking calls faded into the distance and then, reminded that the light was fading fast, fetched my camera for a garden diary photo.  It doesn’t look like much progress from my summer photos but the cultivated ground and herbaceous planting now encircles both interlocking lawns.  There’s still a fence running across the larger lawn but we’ll shorten that back later when there’s garden beyond rather than the newly dug corner of a field.

As I packed away the garden tools, blackbird calls were racketing from the little wood next door warning that it was time to roost.  A tiny wren, silhouetted on the ridge of the barn roof, added its implausibly loud trill and then, as if overcome by sudden shyness, dived down out of sight. Dark at five. Time to put the kettle on.