When the air is heavy and the horizon indigo with distant thunder lethargy stalks the garden as the plants and the gardeners grow languid. The borders are blowsy and going to seed like an ageing actress insisting that she must go on to please her adoring audience of bees. The vibrant colours of the cottage garden are slowly fading and take on softer hues reminiscent of ancient tapestries.
These are the dog days* and after the exuberance of spring fever and the decadence of the white nights my enthusiasm is senescent. Lulled by the sensual music of the bees and intoxicated by the honeyed perfume of bedstraw the gardener has become a lotus eater. In these enchanted isles dancing at Lughnasa should never be taken lightly lest sensuality seduce the unwary.
*The ancient Romans noticed that the hottest days of the year, in late July and early August, coincided with the appearance of Sirius – the Dog Star, in the same part of the sky as the Sun. The ancients believed that the star contributed to the heat of the day. It also coincides with Lughnasa or Lammas – the festival which marks the end of the summer and the start of the harvest.