The Changing Seasons ~ This Was August

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And it has been all about tomatoes. The allotment polytunnel has been in production for many weeks now: more than enough from a dozen plants. This in turn has meant tomatoes with every meal and much processing of the remainder. For the latter, this year’s method of choice is simply to roast  them until soft. Additives include a drizzle of olive oil, black pepper, sea salt, garlic and fresh basil.  Once cooked, all is whizzed with an electric wand-thingy and put through a coarse sieve into plastic containers. These are then frozen, contents decanted and stored in bags as sauce ‘bricks’.

Otherwise we’ve been enjoying a very simple Greek dish of repeat layers of thinly sliced potatoes, tomatoes, courgettes (starting and finishing with the potatoes) – also with added basil, seasoning, garlic, drizzle of olive oil, and baking the lot slowly in a moderate oven until the potato-slice topping is crispy. Good with baked fish and/or thinly sliced and steamed runner beans or Violette French beans. We’ve also been eating runner beans as a meal on their own, sprinkled with parmesan or pandano cheese, with or without a homemade pesto sauce, or the pistou version which uses up a tomato.

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I’m thinking that by now we must comprise 99% processed vegetable matter.

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For several weeks the weather here has been more like early autumn than summer – some sun, but many overcast days and often quite chilly. We’ve even lit the wood stove a couple of evenings. But lacklustre temperatures have not stopped the garden. Geranium Rozanne made a bid to take over the entire upstairs terrace. Serious curtailing had to be implemented to ensure a bit of space for human kind. The rest of the borders also seem to be several feet taller this year, including the guerrilla garden which has done great service standing in for the too often absent summer sun.

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For those of you who missed our special garden visitor in early August – here he is, the male Holly Blue butterfly. It was spotted first on the sedum also seen in the photo above. Later I saw it feeding on the oregano, also much favoured by the bees:

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One of my favourite August flowers is the wild yellow toadflax. This is one I’ve grown from seed bought from a specialist wildflower nursery. It is common along the verges of Shropshire’s hill country, especially on the lane up the Long Mynd to Rattlinghope.

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Another summer latecomer is the Morning Glory. The deep indigo-purple ones have just started blooming in the polytunnel where they’re happily growing up a Sun Gold tomato plant. A pleasing cohabitation:

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And in the home garden we had a single ‘Flying Saucer’ version. I caught it fully open just as a little bee found it too. Said little critter could not get enough of the nectar. Every time it thought it was full, it made to leave, only to return again and again. Made me wonder if there was something seriously addictive in there. And what with all the pollen too: a new take on the meaning of Bee-line perhaps.

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And just to show we have had some sunny interludes along with the sun flowers:

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The Changing Seasons: August  This month hosted by Ju-Lyn at Touring My Backyard alternating with Brian at Bushboy Blog. Ju-Lyn has been doing some delicious cooking, though sadly short of tomatoes when she needed them (Sorry about that!) And Brian has some fabulous plant and birdlife on show.

58 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons ~ This Was August

  1. A wonderful garden, flowers, butterflies and I love fuzzy bees. I’ll have your garden shed, it looks fabulous Tish. I have my tomato relish recipe on my blog if you want to try something else to do with your tomatoes.

    1. Many thanks, A-C. I have to admit the home garden has gardened itself this year which means the guerrilla garden has turned into an impenetrable jungle. Which of course does keep some of the weeds at bay 🙂

  2. I loved strolling through your garden. Mine had some very good moments–when I remembered to water them. The sun here has been a scorcher this year. Everyone has said so. There are dead lawns everywhere you look. (I had two different gardens that meant I watered at least a portion of my lawn. I might try to take some highly cropped pictures to show case what worked. (I will decidedly avoid showing off the poor cucumber plants which have succumbed to the dusty plague that attacked them early on.) I still got cukes from them, but increasingly rarely of late. (If you’ve ever grown them please tell me the secret to avoiding ‘mold’ and ‘missing the danged cucumbers until they’ve grown huge and gone to yellowish seed.’ Thanks.)

    Fortunately my neighbor is a much more successful gardener. She’s been keeping me in tomatoes this week!

    1. Cucumbers can be such rogues. I thought I was growing some mini ones and they turned into torpedoes. I think good ventilation is probably key to keeping mold at bay, but if you’ve had too much heat then that’s not possible. Also watering consistently – not too much, but regularly. This year I managed to get the main shoots winding up strings, and cutting off the surplus side shoots and that’s helped too.

      1. I try to learn something every year, so maybe there’s hope by next year I’ll know how to keep them growing just a little bit longer! Thanks.

      2. ‘There’s always next year’ is definitely this gardener’s mantra. You have to be an optimist, don’t you – when it comes to growing stuff. And you never do stop learning either. Which at least keeps the brain ticking over.

  3. Your tomatoes look fabulous (mine were a complete disaster) and the rest of the garden looks fab. Love the morning glory – why can’t bindweed be as pretty?

      1. I bought plug plants and they just struggled to grow (inside the conservatory), but I used a peat free compost for the first time so I don’t know if that affected them. I only had a couple of flower trusses from one plant – three tiny tomatoes. I cut my losses mid-August and binned the lot. BTW I put the aubergines outside and noticed that they were starting to form fruit! Far too late so they’ve been binned too. Better luck next year!

      2. My aubergines have been pretty useless too. Am threatening them with the compost bin. As to peat free compost, I’m wondering if it depends on the mix. If there’s coconut shell fibre in there, then my impression is it does seem to dry out and once it does that, it doesn’t seem to rehydrate very well. I’ve read there’s peat compost that reclaims it a particles from reservoirs – Moorland Gold.
        I like your gardener’s optimism – it’s what keeps us going: definitely better luck next year!

      3. I don’t know about the compost, when watering it went right through, but the plants didn’t seem to soak it up from the bottom. In the past when there has been water in the tray the plants have taken it up. I shall look into a different compost or try mixing it with something else.

  4. Your garden & allotment are bursting with life, Tish! I am so warmed just browsing through your images. Can’t imagine that it’s been so chilly already, and yet, it still looks like summer!

    1. I’ve given you my best days, Ju-Lyn 🙂 🙂 The cool and gloomy ones have been rubbish for photo-taking – v. deep cloud cover. Not at all what we expect in August. We’re promised some sunny days next week though.

      1. It seems like it’s been strange weather for many of us all around the world! We’ve had unseasonably wet weather in Singapore – which means cooler, much welcome temps.

    1. Sorry for tickling your tastebuds like that, Stephen. Mass produced tomatoes rarely seem to work very well. They probably get too much water and are picked too soon. Some of my best producers are ones that can be grown in patio pots – Tumbling Tom and their ilk that will also work in hanging baskets.

  5. Oh my Tish, I wish I lived near you, I am seriously jealous of that amazing tomatoe harvest. I struggle to get mine to harvest, other things get to them first, despite my best efforts. Every time I throw my hands up and say “that’s it, no more” but every year I try again. Just 2 cherry tomatoes this year. What a beautiful display of colour and that “flying saucer” morning glory is so unusual, the bees obviously are addicted to it. I hope your winter is kind to you this year.

  6. I so envy you your fabulous tomato harvest. Nothing in the market can beat your collection. And the rest of your garden is well-worth show-casing too. A great August collection.

  7. I, too, have tomatoes galore….and baskets of white peaches, more cucumbers than anyone could possibly eat….but this abundance from the garden is such a luxurious treat. I’ll sorely miss having my fill of fresh garden produce when the season is over. Oh, and the toadflax – it grows wild here in the Highlands of Virginia. Some people call it Butter and Eggs. It’s such a dainty little wildflower that can be easily missed by the side of the road. Glad you have it in your garden.

    1. Oh, white peaches! How very wonderful, Annette. And I know what you mean about stoking up on fresh fruit and veg while we can. Also lovely to hear you have toadflax in Virginia too.

  8. The Greek dish…Briam? Just discovered that myself this year and it’s a winner! Cheers to you and glad tidings Tish. Love the tomato photos, the richness and depth. Of course, the colors…

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