How lovely it was to finally have some rain last weekend.
Because we have been creating the new growing beds in the Enclosed Garden it has been a very difficult time for the new planting trying to get established . The soil is very dry and with the strong breezes, the plants must have felt they had been planted in the equivalent of a fan oven!
This has been the driest July in England for 111 years and for Scotland it was also a pretty dry month, until recent days, with temperatures above the norm in many parts of the country.
However, wildflowers in particular seem to be thriving much to the delight of our bees.
This a bed of wildflowers we planted back in May.
All the hard work is now bearing fruit
The dry spring allowed most of our fruit blossom to survive and so this is proving to be a bumper year for all our fruit. Despite the June drop of apples, (a tactic the tree adopts when it is carrying too much fruit) we look to be in line for a huge apple harvest this year after last year’s scant crop.
We planted some new blackcurrant bushes two years ago as part of the Climate Challenge project but had to move them out of the enclosed garden last year to facilitate the path work. This is their first undisturbed year and the variety ‘Big Ben’ has produced a staggering crop of berries – some the size of grapes or small gobstoppers. On the first picking we harvested 48 lbs from approximately 5 bushes!
Birds of a feather flock together
Bird Life continues to thrive in the gardens – our adults have raised several wren, robin and goldfinch chicks and already the swallows are raising their second brood. The annual event of watching our buzzard chicks learning to fly has provided much entertainment. It seems that the chicks always find it difficult to keep their wings stretched out for the length of time needed to soar upwards on the thermals . They desperately flap their wings now and then, to stay airborne, exclaiming loudly as the parent spirals effortlessly upwards into the blue heavens showing them how it is done.
Today a skein of Canada geese flew over, probably a resident group looking to feed in surrounding fields but it was a reminder that the seasons move on and all to soon our summer visitors will depart to the south. Here is one of our ephemeral summer visitors – a ‘Painted Lady’. The butterfly originates from North Africa or Central Asia and migrates north annually reaching Britain and Ireland. If you look closely, you can just make out this butterfly’s tongue, or proboscis, between the antennae as it feeds on the flower.