The Michaelmas daisies are beginning to flower, a sign that the dreamy dog days of summer are drawing to a close.
In the northern hemisphere the hottest summer months are referred to as dog days. This dates back to Greek astronomy around 700 BC. It was thought that the dog star, Sirius, which rose before the sun during the summer months, brought about the hot weather. It was also thought that this brought on fever and madness in people. Homer alluded to this in “The Iliad“:
Sirius rises late in the dark, liquid sky
On summer nights, star of stars,
Orion’s Dog they call it, brightest
Of all, but an evil portent, bringing heat
And fevers to suffering humanity.