The field of gold behind the house has gone now, the barley cut and baled and hauled away, the ground harrowed. It happened in a few days too – to beat the change in the weather. The sky gods simply snapped their fingers: high summer heatwave off; autumn wind and rain on, plus a 12 degree drop in daytime temperatures. Gone too are the drifts of lime flower scent along the town lanes and by-ways. In fact on Friday the change felt so dramatic I kept thinking I’d lost a month or two and that we were actually in late September. Most disorientating.
But on the things-to-be-very-pleased-about list, number one is the completion of the greenhouse construction against the cottage back door. He who builds sheds and binds books worked his socks off, first demolishing the plastic conservatory, then being confounded by limestone wall (and how to affix said greenhouse to it.) Next were the bad delivery issues of wrong window fittings, wrong glass and dealing with the installation of a door that should have gone on the other end. This one step forward – two back construction phase was also preceded by devising means to resolve a perennially leaking gutter issue. But he sorted it. Hats off to Dr. Farrell.
And so you might be a tad underwhelmed when you see the final creation. It is so low-key compared with the plastic predecessor whose existence I tried never to record apart from this one photo:
And so now for the new version – recently rain-tested and presently filling up with my drying onion crop:
Meanwhile out in the garden the bees aren’t letting the weather affect the feeding imperative. The hollyhock flowers have been a particular favourite, the bees calling in for an all-over pollen wash.
The oregano flowers are a big hit too:
Then out in the guerrilla garden, the knautia keeps on flowering and is now providing a hunting ground for a tiny crab spider:
The latest floral interlopers there (though most welcome) are some lemony evening primroses:
The tansy has been taking over too and about to flower:
Finally some soothing sounds from July on the Linden Walk:
The Changing Seasons: July This month hosted by Brian at Bushboys World. Go see his fabulous gallery of New South Wales flora and fauna.
This week the wild flower plot at the allotment has burst forth from the meadow grass to bring us poppies, blue cornflowers and bright yellow anthemis. More exciting still is the discovery in the nearby communal orchard of a spotted orchid. Thank you, bird. Something you did must have resulted in this new arrival. Spotted orchids are of course quite common around Much Wenlock. Nearly 4,000 were counted last Friday up on Windmill Hill in the annual orchid count. They thrive in limestone meadows. I’d show you its picture of the newbie, but when I went to check on it yesterday morning, the flower was very much ‘over’.
On the home front all is chaos in the Farrell garden – the vegetation rampant and he who builds sheds and greenhouses up to his ears in the new lean-to greenhouse whose parts are currently reclining rather than leaning. Well, it seemed like a good idea to remove the nasty plastic conservatory from the back door. But then how do you attach a metal framed greenhouse to a very unstraight limestone boulder wall? Much pondering involved. I am however informed that progress has finally being made – an intervening wooden frame being attached to said wall which will make gap filling and water-tight-involving interventions feasible. Phew!
This is the ‘upstairs’ garden with (thankfully) few glimpses of the greenhouse construction chaos below. Here you can meet some of our best ‘girls’.
And then there are tumbles of campanula and the exuberant ‘tapestry’ of colours in the downstairs garden:
Out in Townsend Meadow the barley is changing colour – hints of buttery yellow with gingery flushes, but still green on the peripheries. The grains are swelling fast after a few good showers. And talking of showers, the path to the allotment is now very overgrown, this despite my frequent to-ing and fro-ing. It is now the season of wet knees and rising damp in the gardening pants, and otherwise arriving dew-soaked on the plot. I could of course take the garden shears to it. This has been known.
We have not been far this month, though we did pop over to Ironbridge last week. It was good to see lots of visitors in the outdoor cafe in the Square, and the Severn Gorge brimming with greenness. But there’s no pretending, life is not as we knew it.
This month Jude at Travel Words asks us to find beauty in shades of white and silver.
Here are a few recent finds in and around the garden.
Flowers from the top: columbine, allium, foxglove, valerian, pyracantha, pulmonaria leaves, lamb’s ears and finally, a most welcome interloper to the guerrilla garden, among the valerian, hesperis and red campion some white campion; who knows how she got there.
For this final week of ‘purple posts’ Jude at Travel Words asks for edible subjects. She didn’t specify whose food though, or at what stage they might be edible. A broad interpretation to follow then, including shots from the allotment yesterday: polytunnel chives, comfrey and field bean flowers.
And from last year on the plot: inside a globe artichoke, potato flowers and a sweet pea, none of which are edible, but sound as if they might be.
This month Jude at Travel Words asks us to explore the colour green. So I thought I’d start with our home landscapes. Here in the English countryside we perhaps take greenness for granted. Even our over-wintering fields are bright with sprouting wheat and pasture grass. The header shot is a December view, looking across Shropshire from Wenlock Edge.
Closer to home is the long-shot view I see whenever I go to the allotment: Callaughton Ash on the southerly edge of Much Wenlock. It’s one I never tire of – those sky-line ash trees with their ivy cladding.
Then behind our house is Townsend Meadow. Wheat has been grown along the flanks of Wenlock Edge for centuries, and as proof has left its name ‘The Wheatlands’ in part of it. These days the crop is sown in October-November and is usually well sprouted by Christmas. I like the corduroy effect.
By summer, after serial dosing, the field looks like this:
And on our side of the fence, thanks to home-made compost:
Meanwhile my summer route across the field to the allotment used to look like this – before the farmer cut the ‘wildlife’ reserve back to the ‘path’:
One of the extraordinary things that happened last March, along with advent-lockdown, was the appearance of this red-legged partridge on top of the old privy roof. Well! Never had this kind of thing happened in the garden before. In my experience partridges are rather covert birds. You’re lucky to have a fleeting glimpse if you happen to startle one along a farm-field hedgerow. This one, however, stood in full view for ages. Not only that, it began to further advertise its presence with some very loud and rasping calls. It was all rather thrilling. Who knew that partridge plumage was so very magnificent. I certainly didn’t.
In recent days there has been a bit of a coup over in the crab apple at the top of the garden. Mama Blackbird has staked her claim to the crop. In fact the other morning I caught her seeing off the male blackbird in a most aggressive manner. No quarter given there then. He went off in a fluster.
Back in early December it was he who was King of the Crab Apples. There had been no frost or snow to soften the fruit, and he was finding the going tough, adopting a fencer’s lunging stroke to slice off shreds of fruity flesh. Once in a while he’d (accidently) end up with a whole mini-apple wedged in his beak, too hard to scrunch in one pincer movement. Next would come a rapid descent to the garden path to sort himself out. Once or twice I thought he was in danger of choking, and wondered what the procedure might be – to unchoke a blackbird. But then he hopped back on the fence and, if birds can cough, he coughed a few times and returned to lunging.
And so now all is clear. There was naturally a very good reason why Mama Blackbird was biding her time, waiting for wintery weather to make easy pickings of the apples .
Apple Sorbet on a stalk. Mine! All mine! says Mama Merle.