The Changing Seasons: May 2020


I took this photo last night as I left the allotment: the cow parsley in the descendant, the wheat thrusting up and beginning to form ears. It rather reflects my mood, for much as we have been enjoying the sudden outburst of ‘high summer’ days, albeit in May, I’m also feeling very cross. And since my views veer towards the contrarian, I don’t intend to air them here beyond saying there is too much officialdom fudging/ineptitude/cross-purposes/vested interest/contradictory information/rubbish media reporting and all round manipulation.

So that was May in the outside world. Meanwhile in my little Wenlock  sphere of influence all is burgeoning, and the garden is lovely. I’m not sure how we ended up with Mediterranean weather over the last few days and for the week ahead. It was preceded here by two days of tempest and a high chill factor that the weather people described as a gusty breeze. So gusty was it, that plants I’d put outside to harden off, had to return indoors and the process started over once the wind dropped.

Here is the gusty breeze in action. This is not a ‘fake’ photo:


I haven’t recorded this month’s allotment activities – although much has been done: earthing up of potatoes, planting out beans – runners, butter, borlotti, Jacob’s cattle gold, Cherokee, climbing French; courgettes and squashes; red cabbages, Tuscan kale; and in the polytunnel: tomatoes, aubergines and peppers. The reason I’ve not taken photos is because most things are shrouded in thin horticultural fleece or mesh to defend them from excess heat, drying out, and pigeons. For now the plots look like some kind of crazy campsite.

On the home front the garden is moving into summer mode with foxgloves, roses, sweet peas and geraniums. The columbine grannies (aquilegias) have mostly lost their bonnets, the poppies their frocks, and the alliums are transforming into seedy constellations. But the red valerian (Centranthus) – also known as kiss-me-quick and devil’s beard is busy attracting the bees, and the whole garden is filled with bee-hum which can only be a good thing. I’ve also had the chance to notice how very furry some bumble bees’ bottoms are, so I thought I’d share an example of that particular observation in the upcoming gallery.


And here’s some news from the Dyfi ospreys: chicks hatched in new High Definition:



The Changing Seasons: May 2020

54 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons: May 2020

  1. Very nice pictures, and info on bumblebee bottoms. You have a very genteel way of saying that the world’s gone to hell in a hand basket, and it’s all total bull. (Or as you would say on your side of the pond, bullock’s.)

  2. I’m always relieved when I hear that others are sharing my recent feelings of irritability. It hopefully means I’m not becoming just another grouchy old woman …. but then again, maybe I am. I’m flip-flopping between angry, sad, depressed, and scared. It seems that when the going gets tough, the good, the bad, and the ugly all seem to bubble to the surface … and there have been no shortages of the latter two 😠

    Things I’ve learned today – there is such a thing as ‘agricultural fleece”, which I imagine to look like little plant blankets, and bumblebees have furry bums 😀

    1. So happy to add to your sum of wisdom re fleece and bee bums, Joanne, and yes the fleece is rather like light-weight interfacing used in sewing and comes in various widths for covering crops either directly on the plants, or over hoops. As for the rest, I am getting v. concerned for those for whom release from lockdown is becoming a huge obstacle which they cannot imagine overcoming.

  3. It always lifts my spirits to visit your allotment, Tish. I understand your current feelings and of course we in the US now have another terrible virus/plague to deal with. I thought once again this morning, when reading about an incident from two very different points of view, how difficult it is when points of view are so varied, almost diametrically opposed, and both have people believing that POV implicitly. Our current situation is the perfect illustration of “Two wrongs don’t make a right” and it’s a terrible time. And really, the C-19 situation is much that same. We hear one thing one day, another the next; or one thing from one side/group/person, the opposite for the other. Everyone has facts and figures; everyone wants out; everyone wants to not get sick; but how can/will we do that? The information changes partly because it’s a new, evolving field of knowledge, but that also means people get frustrated by the constant change in recommendation and don’t know who to believe or what to do.


    1. Am agreeing with all this, Janet. And my heartfelt condolences for all that is transpiring at present. As to Covid-19, I feel it is so mired in political attitudes on both sides of the Atlantic, that actual studies of the virus and their findings are being overlooked or not made generally known.

      1. While I completely get the “we can do what we want and we want to get out” attitude, the decision you make impacts or may impact many more people than just yourself. My concern is how can we reopen whatever and whenever possible with the greatest amount of safety AND freedom. If wearing a mask is the most difficult thing I have to do during this time, consider me blessed!!

        Politics is the perfect example of seeing the same thing and coming to two very opposed POV. Makes me furious with both sides.

      2. “the decision you make impacts or may impact many more people than just yourself.” Abso flippin lutely…..

    2. Great images and I’m with you on “too much officialdom fudging/ineptitude/cross-purposes/vested interest/contradictory information/rubbish media reporting and all round manipulation.” Aaargh….As for me, I’m playing the waiting game….we don’t know enough about this virus, and as I’m vulnerable, and a retired health professional with enough knowledge to exercise caution, I ain’t rushing out….

      1. We’re in the older group as well and my parents are 90 and 91, so I’ve been doing their grocery shopping to let them stay home and I certainly don’t want to bring anything home to them. Quite a few people here don’t wear masks. I don’t when walking outside, but then I’m not getting close to anyone else. At the store, I always wear one.

      2. There is a lot they don’t understand about this virus. For me, the main issue is that a mask SHOULD stop droplets from someone who is sneezing or coughing. Otherwise, they don’t have any anti-microbial value. For many of us, outside among people is too dangerous because we have other physical problems that make us vulnerable. I’m lucky to live in the country. There aren’t any crowds and houses are spread well apart from each other. Still, I wouldn’t mind a trip to the canal to take a few pictures assuming it is (as usual) mostly empty. The air itself can’t be a bad thing … or can it?

      3. Because the virus is new, what is known is in flux. Even with diseases and conditions we’ve known about for years, new knowledge can come along and change how we treat them.

        Wearing a mask should at least cut down on the droplets that get projected, so I have no problem wearing one. I don’t wear one when I walk, as I’m not close enough to anyone to give or get droplets. The consensus still seems to be that fresh air is good and that droplets will disperse more quickly and be less concentrated faster than indoors, so I’d say go for the canal.

      4. I agree. And staying away from others who might have it and not know it helps. But boyoboy do I sometimes want to go out and hug the world! So, that’s where the dogs come in. They ALWAYS want a hug.

    3. The one thing that stays true for people my age and much younger folks with physical issues is that this disease will kill me if I catch it. It’s not complicated for me. For anyone with physical issues, heart problems, asthma, immune deficiency problems, it’s lethal. Age by itself can be enough, too. And now it’s killing kids, too. that it has been politicized? Yes, but why aren’t professional medical people in charge of this? Why has solving this problem been handed over to the least qualified people anyone could find?

      As for our current race war, well we started with slavery, continued with Jim Crow, have been lynching and murdering black people for being black ever since this country came into existence. if they are hurt and angry, they have every right to feel that way. They do not need further oppression. They need HELP. And now that we have more than 40 million people unemployed in the U.S., there are suddenly going to be a lot of white people who need help too.

      Maybe, in a weird way, that will make them understand something that has through the centuries eluded them, that when you take away everything and leave people with nothing but poverty and oppression, it’s likely to periodically erupt into bigger problems.

      Maybe it’s time to stop threatening people and start being nice to them. How about civility as a start? Make an effort to calm people’s fears, offer to give them something they want in exchange for the peace you want. things down, Put the cops — ALL OF THEM including a whole bunch more who’ve not even gotten a slap on the wrist for their murders — in jail for a very long time. Make it clear that no, it’s not okay to kill black people for the sin of being black.

      Instead, all I hear is talk of escalating violence. We can keep doing everything the same way we’ve been doing it for more than 200 years — then wonder how come the results never alter. Change is possible, but you have to WANT things to change.

  4. I share your thoughts. I find myself shouting at the telly nowadays and have to stop watching the news channels. What with our buffoon(s) and that numpty over the pond we are definitely heading to hell in a hand basket. And everyone crowding onto beaches as though there is no pandemic at all or having no socially distancing protest marches in the big cities! I am so grateful that I live where I live. And I love your beautiful very pretty cottage garden. What a peaceful place. Let’s hope we can continue to keep safe. I must admit I am in no hurry to rush into the madness.

    1. But I’m aso finding there is some major irony about lockdown. I’ve just looked at the SAGE meeting minutes for 16 March wherein they say that transmission rate increases from 50 to 75% in close confines of a domestic setting where one person is infected. I read the Chinese research showed this too: highest incidence in domestic and public transport contexts; least incidence in people still out working. So lots of conflicting info and/or beliefs. I can imagine researchers will be mulling over the data for years.

      1. They used quarantines during the Bubonic Plague years in the 14th century and it worked, assuming you had the funds to get out of town. Other than that (and cleaning up the rat population!), there doesn’t seem to be much to prevent an aggressive disease from doing its thing.

  5. Love the photos, as always. You are so talented at focusing your camera on what really matters. Extract yourself from the media bull crap and plough your energy into your creative life. Like the wheat in the field . . .

  6. It cheers me greatly to see your garden and those beautiful birds (thanks for the link). And like the rest of us, I need to hold onto those little moments of joy too. I can’t bear to engage with the news media much at the moment because I find myself, like Jude, shouting at the telly. I think your “too much officialdom fudging/ineptitude/cross-purposes/vested interest/contradictory information/rubbish media reporting and all round manipulation.” pretty much covers it.

      1. That’s what I love best about my birds, flowers, and dogs. Every morning, when I see three or four or more squirrels hanging on the feeders, I look at Duke and say: “Duke, time to go to work.” He runs out onto the deck sniffs and for each sniff, he peers through the fence and barks. I give him about 5 minuts (I’m still afraid he might try to jump the deck rail) and then call him in with a big GOOD BOY DUKE! That clears the way for the birds … except he feeders are empty, so I think I have to go fill them now.

  7. Thank heavens for Portugal! I’m not saying they’ve got it right but the insanity levels are not so high. For now! The problem is, how do I move those that I love from the sinking ship laughably known as the United Kingdom? It makes you cry, Tish.

    1. Sinking ship: that does rather sum things up, Jo. Heart wrings for your dilemma, but we do have to hope for a common sense transplant. It may take a while though.

  8. In a crazy world your allotment and beautiful cottage garden are such a joy. Thank you for sharing them with us. I think you have summed up, in well chosen words, what is going on in UK and USA. My heart aches for humanity as I watch the countries disintegrate into chaos and cities burn. How will it ever end.

    1. Crazy indeed, Pauline. Both nations’ populations include many millions of impoverished people (15 million in the UK according the Philip Alston UN Report 2018). Years of austerity and eroded social services, poor housing and diet. And now covid and economic mayhem.

  9. Cross here too, and also worried how so few are connecting our extraordinary spring weather to climate change. Still everything is looking very pretty 🙂

  10. I was just thinking what a contrast your lack of summer rain was to your winter abundance, Tish, and then I read your last comment. I hope you get some rain soon. The home garden looks wonderful. Cool and soothing.

    I often think how difficult it must be for the cohort of vulnerable people in the UK that are not allowed to leave their homes. Sounds like a cruel substitute for the complete ineptitude that characterised your government’s management in the early days. My understanding is that being outdoors where it is accompanied by social distancing is beneficial, and of course not touching things likely to be touched by others. For example, I am missing lots of dog pats at the moment. I also don’t touch things like gates (hand sanitiser at the ready in case there is no option).

    Take care of you and your garden, Tish. I am sure your allotment garden will eventually reward you.

    PS. We use pumpkin vines grown over frames, such as cheap portable gazebo frames, old swing sets, etc, to provide shade.

    1. Love the idea of pumpkin vine shelters, Tracy, though mine need to do a lot of growing still. Barely up their little sticks so far. But that may change now we’ve had a complete change of weather: coolish, dampish, rain yesterday, and some more to come, though only the gentle sort; it will take a while to penetrate the baked solid soil. I agree too about the being out in the open air. The best way to top up Vit D levels which is a natural anti-viral. I’m not sure why everyone was so discouraged from doing this early on, even when they were keeping apart. Police telling people to stop sitting on the grass in parks. Balmy and no scientific basis to suggest sitting on grass spreads disease! And thank you for all your good wishes. Much appreciated. You take care too. I’m sure dog patting may soon be resumed.

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