My garden is looking very much "End of Year" now. This old Sunflower head sums it up. Everything has a faded and droopy look.
It's a similar story here. This Hydrangea flower was once bright pink, but it's now pale and washed-out. It will soon be brown, I suppose...
I'm not going to be in too much of a hurry to tidy things up though, because these days I am more aware than ever of the role that the seeds contained in old flower-heads play in sustaining wildlife during the lean Winter months. I expect the birds will enjoy the Sunflower seeds, as well as the ones from these Rudbeckia:
The seeds of Rudbeckia are tiny, but the Goldfinches spend ages picking them out, so they must consider it worth the effort.
I think that the seeds from this fern might be too small even for the Goldfinches. Actually I'm not sure they are even seeds. Maybe they are spores? Anyone know?
I've been doing a bit of seed-saving myself recently, picking the dry brown pods of the various types of bean that I've grown. Despite my best efforts to pick them at their best, I inevitably miss a few and they only become visible once the leaves start dropping off the plants.
I'll dry those pods completely and when they are ready I'll take the beans out and keep them for use in soups and stews for the Winter. They will be joined by a lot more in a couple of weeks' time because I can see that there are a lot of big pods right up at the tops of the plants, where I have been unable to reach them (I use 9-foot poles). I'll only be able to get them by ripping down the whole plants, but I'm not ready for that just yet since there are still a few useable pods lower down.
Despite what I've said above, not everything is on its last legs. For instance, some of my herbs are really revelling in the cooler, wet conditions we are experiencing now, and have put on some lush new growth. Just look at this Sage:
I chopped off the old growth of this Greek Oregano about two weeks ago, and it has responded by producing a whole new set of foliage.
I keep thinking the tomatoes must be just about finished, but they are still going. When the fruit start showing a bit of colour I pick them and bring them indoors to finish ripening. These ones are "Ferline F1"
The Dwarf tomato plants I have grown from the seeds kindly sent to me by Craig LeHoullier in the USA have been very late to set fruit this year, and most of them are still green, like this "Dwarf Beauty King":
I'm hoping they will make it to maturity before the first frosts, but it's going to be a close-run thing. I expect we'll get frost before the middle of October, if not before.