Sunday, 23 August 2009

Sunny spells

Summer this year?

After an astonishingly dry and nice March, an April quite as you would expect, and an excessively rainy May – when the hawthorn hesitated to go into flower but couldn’t avoid finally to blossom in that rainy period, which resulted in a much lesser amount of berries than last year – we welcomed Summer for his stay of two and a half weeks or so in early June. He must have been around since, because he popped in frequently, but always shortly, hours or even minutes would be the appropriate measurement, with only few whole days in between. That’s what they call “sunny spells” in the weather forecasts. And why July officially turned out to have been remarkably above average in rain, but also in hours of sun. August might yield similar results.

There were periods in July that felt like November, sometimes you suspected spring to be back in his April outfit, hadn’t there been the summer vegetation. Indeed, if it wasn’t for that and the day length, one could say we had three seasons around during the “summer” months. Taking into account the wetness of the ground now, one could add winter to it as well.

So lets call summer this year an erratic, unreliable, inconsistent, unpredictable, fickle visitor.

My vegetables were not so pleased about him either. Many of them do better in dry summers. When I didn’t manage to remove the Zucchini blossoms in time for example, the water that had collected in their flowers stayed there after they closed and caused them and the fruits itself to rot. In good weather the flowers would just dry and fall off.

Similar happens to the beans now, after they had started off well, now in the prolonged rain their flowers get mushy and rot instead of falling off, and a grey mould develops on them and the beans’ tips.

Remember my post about bed watching?

One of the beds I watched then was a stretch beside the tunnel where I had sown some annual summer flowers. In May the little plants that had emerged were drowned by the water that came down the tunnel and ran in from the concrete terrace beside it. I hadn’t seen this in years before. So I dug the little plants up carefully and made a mound with the soil, and a little trench all around it. Then I planted them all back into the mound. I was rather sceptic at the time what would come out of that. How weak they looked compared to the strong Lady's Mantle.

It turned out that the plants faced the weather and provided much joy in the last weeks. In fact they gave me the most of a summer feeling I could get this year, with the various colours and shapes of their flowers. They have grown into a nice little border – with two storeys one could say.

Godetia, Clarkias, Love in a Mist grow and flower under a canopy of Cosmos which – with their filigree leaves let enough light through to the smaller plants below.

These are just always graceful: Love in a Mist, in German called Jungfer im Gruenen

And when summer pops in for his short sunny spells, he is accompanied by most beautiful other visitors, who particularly love the Cosmos flowers, such as this Red Admiral:

Here he has unfolded:

Beautiful Peacock:

Flower sharing:

Marjoram flowers elsewhere are also buzzing with visitors during sunny spells, some of them wearing lovely patterns as well.

This Small Tortoiseshell must have had a lucky escape:

I don't know who exactly this and the following visitors are:

Here are two visitors to the Hydrangeas:

The Speckled Wood doesn’t visit flowers, but likes sunbathing sometimes.

What a joy to see them all here.
Thanks for coming!

And hopefully there will be more sunny spells that interrupt scenes like this one this morning.

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