After the dry and rather hot summer of 2018 we had hoped for less heat and more rain during 2019. Obviously 2019 was different from 2018, but it was another dry year at least over some periods. However, there was more rain in total. From August onwards we did have more rain than average, in October it was almost twice as much. Add to this: 2019 was not as hot as 2018. This, plus the cloud cover we had, meant we had less evaporation. Over the past few weeks the soil has been moist on the surface almost permanently, either by rain or from dew, fog or the odd white frost.
Early in the year our barn kept us busy. All the old straw and hey had to go. In early March the last load left on a trailer, leaving us with clearing out the rest. Right on the bottom of it all was a layer that could be rolled up like a large carpet. This was all to go on to our compost heap.
April looked quite promising. The daffodils are going strong and the meadow looks green again, at least in places. Even though: much of the green is in fact moss covering the places that burnt blank during last years heat. And then there was some late snow in mid April enchanting the garden.
Luckily it did not do any harm to our pear trees that were in bloom already.
May colored the rhododendrons and the irises joined in.
And then along came June. It gifted us with a wealth of poppies, cornflowers and corn campions. We bathed in seas of red and blue and purple.
A wall of foxgloves stood out in the back between all the rhododendrons radiating in all the colours they could think of.
Let me introduce you to Jacquelin du Pre. She is a beauty in her own right and a rose dearly loved by hover flies.
With the sun getting strong some plants needed a bit more shade. During the past three years I had been to basket weaving workshops at Kerstin’s. All my baskets were meant to go in the garden for shading plants in need. And they did a really good job. The one I made this year reminded me somewhat of the Sorting Hat at Hogwarts.
The rye we had put out the year before was going strong this year. It was almost 2 metres high and it got itself infested with ergot. They, too, grew impressively strong.
We do have a number of fruit trees in our garden, but we had been fancying a mirabelle tree for quite a while. And this year we came across one we felt wanted to be part of our orchard. We planted it in spring and it grew well. It came with a couple of wee little green fruits. To our great surprise they took another route than we had expected:
We rang the nursery to ask whether there was any chance that there is a blue variety. But they said no. So, now we have a plum tree with no name. We decided to keep it.
We thought the old balcony pots might look nice mounted on what used to be a stable door. The nasturtiums quite liked it there.
These are our climbing beans prior to the root voles having a go at them. We still did harvest some of them and they were nice and tasty – the beans, even though I would like to get rid of all the root voles, I do not fancy having them for dinner.
In late September we checked all the nest boxes. One pair of blue tits had their own ideas as to nesting. They chose to nest behind this old little door. During the times pigs were kept in that stable, this door was used for mucking out. We walled it up from the inside to keep unwanted rodents out. But, to some there is room in the smallest chamber. See you next spring, lads.
As I write this the mole is working eagerly its way through all of our meadow doing its job regarding the grubs. There are mole hills all over the place. The bird feeders are crowded, which makes us hope some of those little ones will be there in spring for the nest boxes again. It is still mild, which leaves the soils open for the rain to trickle away and go down to fill up the store of water in the depth.