The perfect August Bank Holiday

Phlos Hesperis with Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Yesterday – Hummingbird Hawkmoth on Phlox Hesperis

Rain!

After weeks and weeks and weeks of sun – gloomy grey weather and belting rain. The ground in the parish field remains hard. Plants still wilt within a few days without rain.

Much of our grass seems to be recovering. In Dorset on Friday the hard-cropped hills near the coast still seemed parched looking. It’s odd seeing our ‘green and pleasant land’ scorched to beige, accentuated by flaxen grasses and fields of early ripening corn, reminiscent of Southern Europe. At the peak of the heat the chalk bones of the plain and Pewsey Vale showed stark. The cleaned Westbury White Horse stands resplendent on its slope.

Without wishing to bring the hordes down upon me, apparently there is an over sufficiency of wasps this year. There are a few about here but I haven’t noticed any nests in the garden. Very few hornets just one or two. It’s the dragonflies (mainly Emperors) I’ve really noticed this year, making slow deliberate forays along the paths with quick darts into the borders and a wild clattering of cellophane wings if they venture into the kitchen  skylights. They are gently shooed-out with a soft broom. Thankfully the new kitten appears to have got bored felling and crunching on them – not very tasty I presume.

Some plants are about two thirds the height they would be in a wetter year, Eryngium pandanifolium is one such and the wild angelica also.

But as many have commented, other plants have thrived. This is the first time the Lagerstroemia has flowered and the Vitex agnus-castus is also quite resplendent.

Lagerstroemia

Vitex agnus-castus

Others are reporting a surfeit of figs – not me, sum total 2, one from Brunswick (right) and one from Precoce de Dalmatie.

My fig harvest

No courgettes either, too much shade, not enough feeding probably. I am mocked by the allotments up the road who put out marrow-sized courgettes – Help yourself it says on the sign – Hah!

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