The Changing Seasons ~ August 2022

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Harvest time in Much Wenlock came early this year. With the brief heatwave that lasted less than a week, but the months of drought, some crops looked baked-in-the-ground. Without regular rainfall, our heavy Silurian soil very quickly turns to concrete and cracks open.

The field beans in Townsend Meadow behind the house that started off so well in spring, did not make good, fat pods before they started turning black and drying out. The plants themselves have been standing in the field, blackened and leafless for weeks. Until today that is (September 1st), when they were finally harvested amid a great dust storm. I dare say  the beans that have been harvested will be very well dried, but probably only suitable for animal feed.

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Thistles and the field bean crop just before harvest

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Now when it comes to apples, both wild and cultivated, it’s a whole new story. Here is the crab apple tree in our back garden. The fruit is tiny, but what a crop. I’ve never seen this little tree so laden: enough to make crab apple jelly and leave plenty for the over-wintering birds.

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Up at the allotment, the Discovery apple tree is also cropping earlier than usual, and again, weighed down with fruit. The skins are bit tough though; again likely due to lack of rainfall:

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Windfalls in August

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Since the three very hot days early in the month, we’ve had lots of cool and cloudy days, when we were sure it was going to rain. We’ve even had weather forecasts that threatened deluges. But no. They did not materialize. Only one passing shower that teased all the plants, and this gardener into thinking things were about to improve.

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Here’s the allotment bonfire in waiting. It looks very autumnal. The stalks of the artichoke plants on the pile, dried so hard they could not be chopped up for compost.

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Teasels already

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In the home garden, many plants have struggled without rain. The phlox that usually flowers all summer, bloomed and then was quickly desiccated. Hand watering simply did not cut it. Now though, some of the helianthus (perennial sunflowers) are trying for a bold recovery, and I spotted the first Michaelmas daisy yesterday. The geraniums, too, have soldiered on valiantly. Things in pots (cosmos and echinacea) are probably faring better because it’s easier to manage the watering. Which also means we have a jolly new sunflower just out by the greenhouse door. It’s sharing a tub with some tomatoes.

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And finally a view from Wenlock’s old railway line, taken yesterday:

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The Changing Seasons ~ August 2022:   Please visit hosts Brian at Bushboys World and Ju-Lyn at Touring My Backyard

49 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons ~ August 2022

  1. It has been a funny old season. Apart from those infamous hot days, our summer hasn’t been particularly – er – summery. Our lawns remain green-ish, the harvests were ridiculously early, and yes, we too have abundant apples to look forward to. I’ll be posting soon about our visit today to a local reservoir. Quite scarily empty. A very mixed bag.

    1. I agree, over all it’s been a very so-so summer. The lack of rain is concerning. Why we can’t store all the deluges we get in winter months is infuriating. I wonder when anyone last built a new big reservoir.

  2. Totally agree, Tish “Why we can’t store all the deluges we get in winter months is infuriating. “….and why can’t we restrict usage earlier

  3. How about that. The last photo (from the rail line) reminds me of the tranquil vibe of that Sting song, Fields of Gold. Such an array of interesting moments in the allotment, I love it. Look forward to more tales in the weeks to come! Observed similar good crops of apples down in southern Germany last week. The wine grapes should do well too, for a fortunate good rain they just got. Better pick ‘em before the birds get there, right? Like that your crab apples will support the birds as they winter over.

    1. Lovely of you, Bill, to give that view a soundtrack, and such a good one too. It’s a while since I heard it, so shall listen again so I can ‘pin it’ for when I next go that way. Glad you are safely home, but I’m going to miss your being in Germany – the prose and proximity likewise.

      1. Kind of you to say! More to come on the prose front with hopes, as with your allotment tales…!

  4. Glad some things are doing well. We’ve gotten a good amount of rain in Arizona this monsoon season but still the Weather and Southwest are suffering overall. I’ve had the same thoughts about storing the deluges or diverting flood waters.

  5. These photos are wonderful Tish despite their tinge of sadness. I am so amazed at those apple trees, what a harvest indeed! The flowers are so lovely as well. Thanks for joining Ju-Lyn and me in The Changing Seasons 🙂 🙂

  6. excellent shots Tish of this dry season and premature harvest – especially struck by the field beans photo. Amazing harvest though of apples – here the blackberries are small but sweet and lots of them. I always feel sad when I see the hay bales

    1. Yes, hay bales have that effect on me too. Sometimes they also make me remember when all were stacked in stooks which used to happen aeons ago on the Cheshire fields behind our house. Sweet smelling wigwams for small children.

  7. Love the final shot there Tish. Driving down to Surrey this week to see my daughter I saw a lot of what the real heatwave had done to the countryside (not as hot here thank goodness and I enjoyed a dry summer for a change) the grass alongside the road in Wiltshire was golden yellow and rather beautiful, if only I could have stopped to get a photo. Difficult to know which way things are heading, milder, wetter winters and dryer hotter summers or milder and wetter all year round – no-one really seems to know. Last year spring was cold and wet! And what annoys me most is the amount of leaks that the authorities are so slow to fix which waste much more water than a hose-pipe around the garden. (Crab apple looks amazing – is that Everest?)

  8. The crab apple tree in my garden is literally weighed down with fruit, branches groaning and creaking in the stiff breeze we’ve had of late.

  9. So pleased I can at last find time to visit Much Wenlock through the eyes of your camera Tish. Beautiful images. Those crab apples are amazing. Almost more apples that leaves. I’ve been following the strange weather in Uk and am wondering how we are going to be affected in this coming summer. They are predicting another very wet spring and summer with floods and storms. I do not have to worry and stress about the weather now, being 30 floors up gives me a very different perspective, life has changed significantly for us.

  10. The weather has been hard on the landscape and the plants…. glad to see it didn’t affect your apple crop, though! I am imagining your larder lined with jars and jars of jams, butters, and preserves!

  11. Beautiful post, yes even in Ireland we had a lovely summer, warmer than usual, much dryer too, and still it continues. Enjoyed reading your posts again after my long absence, will have a lot of catching up….

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