The Changing Seasons ~ August 2020 And The Polar Plunge


I’m not sure what it is, but we’ve got it: a skyful of arctic air dropped upon us. This edited photo of Townsend Meadow, taken on the way home from the allotment, rather sums things up for me, the polar plunge not the least of it. The rest has been covered in Dr Malcolm Kendrick’s blog post, Covid: what have we learned?

So August, but not as we know it: cool, windy and very, very wet; the sun coming briefly now and then, temperatures well below the expected. Even before last week’s Storm Francis, the wheat in the field was hanging its head in dreariness. Last night, though, they harvested it, two great combines working with headlights full-on. It was an eerie sight, the beams of light swinging across the darkening field. Heaven knows what they will do with the grain. It will need a lot of drying out.


The garden at the cottage has had a good mauling, but parts are bravely holding up, and between showers, there is still much insect activity there. On Saturday morning we even had a totally-blue-sky spell. The light was sharp, and I snapped some good bee photos among the helianthus. I also noticed the amazing crop of tiny apples on the Evereste crab apple tree; they’re more obvious now they’re starting to ripen, the blush growing deeper day by day: perfect tiny fruit less than an inch across; a good winter store for the blackbirds.


Meanwhile up at the allotment, the plots all have taken on straggly early autumn looks: lots of fruit on the apple and damson trees, and lots of tomatoes in my polytunnel. And lots of weeds sprouting in all my beds. But I was pleased to see my climbing beans – runners, butter, French, Cherokee and borlotti – have been making the most of all the rain and were not blown off their sticks by Storm Francis. The beetroots, leeks, squashes and cabbages area also doing well. So: despite the weird weather and even weirder times, there is a very great deal to be grateful for.


The Changing Seasons: August 2020

Please visit Su and see what she’s been up to on the very creative art and cooking fronts. Cloud-light scones, anyone?

52 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons ~ August 2020 And The Polar Plunge

  1. We’ve been getting a lot of days of darkness like that … except without the rain. It looks like rain, feels like rain, but no rain falls here. In other places, but not here. We got a little bit last week, but not nearly enough and now the bowls of water I leave out on the deck are providing water for birds and squirrels and who knows what else because all the creeks and rivers are very low and the sections that are fuller are a long distance away.

    At least you have apples. That’s something. This is an apple orchard region and usually this time of year, we are bursting with apples and local corn and other small produce, but not much this year. Burning hot summer with no rain, and now suddenly it’s cool and lovely but still dry. I’d swap the lovely for some water falling from the sky.

    Your apples look yummy!

    1. The weather patterns seem to have gone into random mode everywhere. It’s all very confusing on top of everything else. But yes – apples – we’re in for bumper crops this year it seems. Lucky us!

  2. Fruit and veg looking très splendiferous, Miss T!
    Nothing much happening on the growing front at the Ark’s spot. However, I did notice a couple of small green potato leaves poking up from the soil this morning.
    Days are getting a bit warmer down here so I need to get sowing, pronto!

    1. Ah, the cycle of things in our different hemispheres. It’s always exciting when the first spud leaves pop up. I’m thinking about sowing winter salad greens for the polytunnel.

  3. We may cool off next week some..been a really hot August for us. .Up to 105 with a feel like 111. Too hot to work out side except really early. I can remember combining beans at night to get ahead of a weather system . Farmers do what ever they have to do.Your photos are lovely. Clear blue sky…nice.

    1. Ah, so you’ve had all the August heat then! We seem to have had our summer back in May, and we’ve been very short on sunshine since. That’s a fine image of you combining beans at night, but you’re right: farmers do whatever they have to.

      1. Gosh that’s a lot of bugs to work round. The plums on various trees around the allotment plots were lovely, and incredibly prolific, and unwormy, but this year they rotted very quickly. As my plant pathologist other half says whenever I mutter about such things: you can’t keep a good pest down. Which I have to say is not at all encouraging.

  4. Oh, please send me a bit of polar air!! 🙂 We had rain the other night–probably about 1/16″ or so. That’s a rain here. Every time I visit you I have to fight garden envy, so you’re going to be really good for my character development by the time winter comes. Then perhaps I’ll be able to flaunt a few plants that will actually grow and not crisp. I can but hope. 🙂

    I really like your ominous sky shot (although the other are, per usual, all lovely.) It’s hard on farmers to have rain or moisture of any sort on the way at this critical time, though. Farming is such a weather-dependent living.

    Anyway, I hope September gets off to a good start and the weather isn’t too awful.


    1. Many thanks for those good weather wishes, Janet. I shall look forward to your winter plant offerings, and in the meantime, I do wish I could email you some rain. We had another downpour for much of today. Hopefully dry tomorrow.

      1. Because the “soil” here is caliche, much like cement, if we had too much rain at one time, it would just run off and cause problems. So if you do send it, would you send it via a drip system, please. :-

  5. Wow Tish… I love that shot of the bee hovering over the flower. It is just perfect…! Thanks for sharing. Your vegetables look really good… maybe I will join you. And yes, the weather has been quite weird, and unusually cooler for this time of the year.

    1. Hello, Dr. Y. So happy you liked my bee pic. And I would love to share my vegetables with you! Am also interested to hear that your weather is being odd. Weather patterns seem to be shifting all over the place.

  6. Worldwide weather seems to be a challenge. I hope your autumn and winter are not too savage. I envy your marvellous tomatoe crop. My early ones were ravaged by some unknown predator so I now have another one hiding at the back of the flower bed along the front drive as an experiment, hopefully no hungry thing finds it. So far so good. Your veggies continue to flourish with your loving care.

  7. That header shot is an absolute stunner Tish. What a pity about the weather that brought it about.

    I’m glad your garden and allotment are not too ravaged. Love the bee bum shot and seeing your tomatoes has reminded me to get in touch with a friend who grows the most gorgeous heirloom varieties and see if I can cadge some seeds/seedlings.

  8. Great post, Tish. I have a greater appreciation for market gardeners when I grow my own produce.
    Your garden still looks gorgeous and is keeping the bees happy. Love that bee shot. I hope you get some warm days in September to keep it going a little longer. Watch out for the squash/pumpkin. We had a lot of rain when the drought broke in our area. This was toward the end of the pumpkin growing season. Most of our pumpkins rotted in the weeks after we picked them, and the replacement pumpkins we bought, also rotted. So if you do get some off your vines, eat them early.

    1. Thank you, Ann. The garden, as opposed to the allotment, has been putting on quite a show all summer, and I’ve not had to do much to it for months, apart from a bit of dead-heading. The michaelmas daisies are just coming out now, splashes of purple among the helianthus.

      1. I am looking forward to splashes of michaelmas daisies again. I planted one a few weeks ago to replace one which died several years ago. I love them.

  9. Did you miss out on the August heatwave then? We did. We had a week of sea fret instead! Though it wasn’t too cold out of the fog! Of course we all know that everything is London-centric! I love your bee photos and envy you your bountiful allotment though I don’t envy the work you obviously put into it.

    1. No, we didn’t have the August heatwave, or if we did it was more of a hello and good bye and I did not notice it. One reason I know this is because I have not been wearing any summer clothes since about May, and we’ve only eaten supper outside twice.

  10. beautiful photos in this post with some nice garden phrases for me – like the “wheat hanging their heads” conjures up so much

    and we had a wet August also – the second wettest since we have kept records – ugh

    1. The wheat was such a poor show, but it’s harvested now, and I get to tramp across the shorn field to the allotment. It’s a real liberation, the sense of freedom before the field is ploughed again

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