A handful of yellowing leaves on the birch tree in my street always starts the neighbours talking about Autumn. Meanwhile, in this favoured corner of the country, summer sunshine lingers on. So it was with mixed expectations that I hopped on the train for the short ride into Cambridge to make my monthly pilgrimage to the Botanic Garden.
Autumn crocuses and even Autumn leaves, sure signs of September and some of the first flowers I saw on entering the garden. This part is known as the Autumn Garden, though it's still far from the russet and gold splendour that it will hopefully achieve later in the year.
These sunflowers, on the other hand, seem to be saying that it's still high summer. As this is the University garden, these flowers were not here just to look pretty, but to demonstrate how plants adapt by branching if their growing points are removed. In front of these gangling specimens were others exhibiting low, branching growth and looking for all the world like a different species.
In the woodland glades there was just a tinge of yellow.
This, the little label informed me, is a Kentucky Yellowwood, Kladrasis kentukea. Now that must rate as one of the more pointless achievements of academia - translating "Kentucky" into Latin!
This little bee firmly believes that it's summer, though it definitely has a limited choice of blooms at this time of year.
The apparent "jungle" is still thriving beside the lake.
Though nearby the attentive photographer could indulge in this reflected fantasy.
Lily Of The Field was flowering profusely in the Systematic Beds.
Dried grasses are quite a feature of the September garden.
Somehow I've never shown you the School Garden on our monthly tours. It has a very grand sign which doubles as an "insect hotel".
This part of the garden is run with help from a local primary school and exists to provide inspiration for both young people and their teachers.
Elsewhere red berries contrast nicely with the afternoon skies.
More dry grasses catch the light around the fountain.
And we'll end up, almost back where we started, with this tiny cyclamen growing beneath the trees in the Autumn Garden.