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Friday, 24 August 2018

Autumn in August

Honestly, there's no pleasing some people:   after bitching, moaning and generally complaining my head off about three months with no rain, I'm now frustrated because we have had rain every day for nearly a fortnight.  Actually, I don't really mind - it is not raining all the time, and the showers we are having are mostly fairly gentle, proper "gardeners' rain" which soaks the soil but does not flatten plants.



What I do mind is that just about all my perennials have gone over weeks earlier than normal, there is very little in flower in the garden (which could say more about my inability to master succession planting than the weather) and that I really need to be getting on with cutting down and tidying up.  But I cannot do that whilst everything is so wet because it's just not fun.  And I need the garden to be fun which it is not at present, my gardening mojo left with the sunshine and I am finding it very hard to get into "prepare for next season" mode.   We managed to get all the lawns cut on Tuesday which was a tiring job because the grass was so damp it kept clogging up the lawnmower chute.  I hate cutting grass that is not completely dry but it had to be done.





Water levels in all the ponds are restored but the rain and warmth has lead to burgeoning growth - some of the Big Pond beds badly need thinning out.









The cyclamen bed which I thought I'd lost during the drought seems to be recovering, but the flowers are much smaller than normal.





Our first attempt to grow new lawn at the back of the house failed miserably - when it was obvious we were going to get no rain we stopped watering the newly sown seed.  A couple of weeks ago I re-seeded and things have gone much better this time around :)



In other places plants are very confused, I have a lilac blooming near the Coppice and Clematis Nelly Moser, which took a year off in 2017, started growing in the heatwave and is now in flower.





I worry for our wildlife:  for example the autumn heathers which I don't expect to see in flower until well into September have been blooming their little hearts out for most of this month.  They will be over soon and there's not a lot to follow on, so what will our bees, wasps and hoverflies feed on between then and hibernation time?

The answer in one small instance is that the wasps will feed on our blueberries - we've had a massive crop this year, and the wasps have moved in much earlier than usual.  Normally they don't start on the fruit until late September and I am able to pick berries into October.  This year I reckon our harvest will be over within another couple of weeks and I will leave the remaining smallest or overripe fruit for the insects.



The nights are drawing in, table lamps on timers switch themselves on before supper and I am closing the curtains for the first time in months.  No-one here likes the house to be cold (still remembering Christmas and New Year without heating - shudder) and the heating has been on for half an hour here and there.

Daisy is coping admirably with the change in seasons:



We have taken advantage of being indoors to get on with the long-overdue task of sorting out years and years of pre-digital photos.   This is only some of the backlog, but we've made progress with throwing away packets containing out of focus views or people we don't recognise!  Scanning what is left might take rather longer.











14 comments:

  1. The summer season is closing earlier this year, my small plot has lost flowers which should bloom for much longer, we are in full harvest of blackberries and late raspberries, it really is a strange year of weather. How quickly did we become used to sunshine everyday, now we are back to our 'normal' weather the rain seams non stop. But the dry summer has made us think about collection of rain water.

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    1. Hi Marlene, I thought we had sufficient water stored with 4 IBCs plus other butts but it's clearly not enough if we want to grow some veg/salad in summer and get more dry periods like this year.

      Yes, we did get used to that sunshine. I don't miss the effect on the garden, but I did enjoy being warm all the time and being able to put shorts on every day :)

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  2. I'm doing lots of garden jobs early. I've pruned the gooseberries, jostaberries, tayberry and raspberries already. Our blueberries are nearly over and have produced a bumper crops too - yours seem quite late. As for the cyclamen I wouldn't expect them to be flowering yet but ours are too. As you say very confusing. As for rain w are not really having enough to wet the soil - just token gestures in between a couple of good downpours but the soil is still really dry.

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    1. What interesting variances Sue, given that you're not really so far from us. Our gooseberries etc are ready for pruning but I haven't done it. The blueberries are not late - last year I picked for three months, July, August and September. Sorry your soil is still dry.

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  3. The first part of this post makes me glad I'm not a gardener where the weather is concerned. We're never satisfied with are we? - I've loved the constant hot days and sunshine though a few weeks ago I was praying for rain to help put out the Winter Hill fire, but now we've got the rain I want the sunshine back! Since my day at the fire station it's been so grey and miserable here with a mixture of on/off heavy showers and constant fine drizzle with brief bits of sunshine thrown in, and though much cooler it's not enough to put any heating on. Your pre-digital photo backlog looks similar to mine, a task which I really need to get round to doing but never seem to have time. Love the photo of Daisy looking suitably relaxed, I hope she's keeping well :)

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    1. Quite honestly Eunice, there were times this year when I wished I was not a gardener either :) These plants are not "just" plants, they are my babies - I put them in the soil, nurture them, tend them, want them to grow big and strong . . . so it bloomin' hurts when things go awray.

      Agree we are never satisfied, see answer to Marlene :)

      Daisy is OK thanks, but definitely a much older dog now.

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  4. This has been a strange year for sure, a very early summer and I can't remember an August quite like this one with so much rain. I've just been reading that we are set to have an autumn heatwave so maybe we'll be having an Indian summer. It's certainly chillier today and I woke up feeling a little cold but I'll resist changing the duvet to a thicker one or putting on the heating. I do feel sorry for you and your plants suffering, it must be so disheartening. Annie is happier with the cooler temperatures but not the rain. Daisy looks very relaxed where she is anyway :)

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    1. Hi Eileen, wouldn't mind an autumn heatwave, especially as it is unlikely to be as unrelenting as May, June and July.

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  5. It's definitely been a strange growing year at the allotment. We were a good 3 weeks behind early on due to bad weather in early spring, now things have been and gone much earlier than usual due to the hot weather. The growing season has been very short indeed...and I'm feeling the cold!

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    1. Thanks Scarlet, you're right about the growing season. It is short enough here in good years, this one has been a pain :-(

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  6. Your garden is still looking lovely despite your dry summer. Weather is so "fickle" & sometimes irritating, but I've basically learnt to live with it, though it broke my heart travelling up through western NSW to see nothing but dust, trucks loaded with hay from both Tasmania & Western Australia, as well as other states & far more roadkill than usual. Most of the farm dams are so dry & we've drought relief programs in place for the farmers. Have a great weekend & take care. Have read your posts from beginning of August.

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    1. It is surprising Susan, just how quickly everything greened up again, even some of the plants I was worried about (although there are others which have definitely suffered real damage). There is talk here of farmers having to bring in winter feed, although goodness knows where we will get it from. Difficult times ahead for many I fear.

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  7. I'm glad the pond levels are back to normal, although I can't believe how cold it has become this last week. We've been away down South and drove home through some hail!
    Daisy is a true star and is coping admirably ;) Fingers crossed neither of us has to suffer without heating again this coming Winter. X

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    1. Thanks Jules, Management has a note on his desk to organise a boiler service within the next month, I don't think anyone wants a repeat of last winter . . . we were much luckier than you I think in that we had the wood burner.

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