17 Sep 2014

Serendipity Summer


Autumn is the new summer, to borrow and misquote a piece of fashion nonsense.  Days like today and yesterday are my kind of weather: the sun is shining but it's warm, not hot, I've got washing drying in a warm breeze outside and there's a gentle buzzing of bees in the shrubbery and gardens. It's left me hopeful for an extension to summer, a boon after the chilly and wet end to August.


Having recently said that the veg patch was all leaf but little produce, I may have to eat my words - as well as lots of fresh garden veg.  It seems that the watering issue was at fault. A few days of torrential rain, some cooler weather and suddenly we have the right conditions for growing happy veg.  I brought home an armful of beans, courgettes, tomatoes and raspberries last night (just before it got dark at 7.30, a sure sign of the changing seasons).  A stroll round the garden at lunchtime today showed what I missed.


3 huge courgettes, 3 small finger courgettes, more beans, sungold and yellow pear tomatoes, a few more raspberries and lovely fresh leaves (spinach, rocket, chard and beetroot) and radishes for salad. Which reminds me, I'd better sow some more lettuce as only two of the Marvel of 4 Seasons has grown. I'm leaving those two to get a bit bigger before I start picking.


The seedpods of orach aka mountain spinach (Atriplex rubra) have turned golden with only one plant left with the lovely bright pink discs lighting up the veg patch. Spiders and their webs are everywhere, caution is needed when picking salad leaves so as not to disturb them.



Yesterday was made even better by discovering several crab apples trees.  I suspected what they were, took a photo and posted that to Twitter and Instagram asking for help with identification. Jules, the Suburban Veg Gardener (@embergate) confirmed in the affirmative. Slicing one of the fruits in half at home sealed the deal - yes, definitely crab apples and definitely going foraging soon for rosehips and crab apples to make jelly and, perhaps, also some rosehip syrup to ward off winter colds. 

The green apples were growing on the other side of the Heath path and are sweet apples of some sort.
That delight will have to wait until the end of next week as I'm driving up to Leeds this coming weekend, popping my son up to university where he'll be studying music production.  Before I hear the cry of #emptynester, although it will initially feel strange (on my own after nearly two decades) and I'll miss him (obviously), I'll be making the most of any free time to visit more gardens, knowing that he'll be having a great time.  I've heard that Leeds is Party Central for students so I'm sure my boy won't be missing home too much! (Although, possibly the washing, ironing and cooking services provided at home  … ) 

28 comments:

  1. I'm sure a large bag of very smelly washing will head home at holiday times.

    I'm guessing that watering is more critical in raised beds.

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    1. I'm used to bags of washing being brought home after a summer of my son working at numerous festivals so having it three times a year won't be too bad! The lack of rainfall in August was made worse by the wind funnelling between the blocks of flats where I grow. My raised beds are over clay based soil so, once established, plants should manage.

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  2. Great to hear about your bountiful harvest this year despite the initial worries earlier in the year that it won't be :) You'll miss your son I'm sure but you'll entertain yourself with lots of garden visits instead!

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    1. And I'll have the time to catch up on some reading!

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  3. Isn't it amazing what a bit of rain can do? Enjoy your foraging and all the best to your son at uni. Oh to be young again....

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    1. Thanks, Sarah, I'm sure he'll enjoy himself but I also hope he'll make the most of the education as well! Yes, wouldn't it be nice to turn time back a bit!

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  4. It has been a gorgeous September so far hasn't it - always been my favourite month. It looks like your garden is producing well - I really must get some autumn fruiting raspberries - I miss them on my breakfast cereal - although I have a fair few in the freezer. I have to stop myself foraging as I really can't use everything up. I guess it will be the same for you now your boy has fled the nest. Doesn't time fly - it doesn't seem five minutes since he was a young boy - I hope you don't miss him too much - no doubt it will take some adjustment - happy harvesting.

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    1. Even though the skies are slightly cloudy at the moment, the air is still just warm so perfect gardening or getting outdoors weather, Elaine. Having gathered a small handful of raspberries this morning, it's been on my mind to get some summer fruiting ones! Time flies by much too quickly; I'm not sure I'd have noticed the past two decades if I wasn't aware of my son growing up so fast! I will need to adjust but I have lots of friends and a good community around me so time will fly until he's home again (with his washing and a mammoth appetite!). Thanks for lovely comments, Caro xx

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  5. Autumn is my favourite season I have finally decided. I like the idea that in a few weeks everything will be cleared away & the garden will have chance to rest for a few months. Mind you I plan to do better next year & have some crops for the winter. I planted my edible hedge with the idea in mind of jellies & syrups. I cant wait until it produces. You will be fine when you take your son to uni, a unique experience to be sure but a pleasant & exciting one! I even took photos of Robs freezer compartments the first time we took him. I'm saving them for his wedding :)

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    1. Joanne, your comments always cheer me up and make me laugh - thank you! I like the sound of your edible hedge, I always say why have privet when you can have a hedge you can eat! I admit I'd rather my son was at uni (even if 200 miles away) than loafing around at home doing nothing! It will be very positive for him - and me as well, I hope! Thanks for reassurance, much appreciated! X

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  6. Here, we have never found extremely changing of the seasons. They change mildly. Anyway, your harvest are so lovely.

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    1. Thank you, Endah. I wonder if you prefer to have the weather fairly constant? When little, I lived in the far south of Florida and longed for the English changing seasons. Over there, we had hot, hot, very hot and humid and hot. Nice for swimming in the ocean but I missed the seasons, even cold!

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  7. Saw a lovely ornamental Crab Apple tree yesterday at Daylesford Organic Farm, and thought of you! It will feature in a blogpost to be published very soon...

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    1. Aww, thanks Mark! I'll look forward to reading your post about it!

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  8. Your harvest is good to see, the yellow toms look so juicy! You are right, the weather is simply heavenly, long may it last! I can't remember having such glorious weather in autumn for years!
    My daughter went to uni in Leeds too, she loved the place so your son should have a ball! Just wait intil he brings all his washing home....look forward to hearing of crab apple jelly.xxx

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    1. I grow those yellow toms every year Dina - they're Yellow Pear, I think the seeds came from More Veg (lovely small packets, just right for small spaces!). Good to know your daughter enjoyed being in Leeds; It's just that it seems a long way from London! Funnily enough, as a teenager, my dad's job took us to live near Leeds but I bet I'll see some changes there!

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  9. After May September is my favourite month Caro especially when the weather is soft and balmy. As you say "it's warm, not hot'' and great for being outdoors. Serendipity indeed leading you to those crab apples plural. Hope that son and you soon adjust to your new lifestyles. No doubt he will come regularly for a touch of luxury and some home cooking. I have two brothers, a sister who graduated from Party Central some years ago now and a nephew there at present. I was a party pooper and went further north to study.

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    1. … and probably did better in your studies as a result! It seems everyone we know is either going to Leeds or Brighton this year. I keep hearing good things about Leeds so am happy he's made the right choice. Driving to Brighton would have been so much easier though - with a few lovely gardens to visit nearby!

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  10. It's still looking good with plenty to be harvested. Some rain, and continuing good weather really has made a difference.
    Have a safe journey and a good weekend. Flighty xx

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    1. I love the abundance of late summer, Flighty; it seems that everything has a final push before the autumn so this is one of my favourite months of the year. Thanks for your good wishes for my journey - much appreciated as I really don't like the M1 motorway but it's the most direct route. Caro x

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  11. Leeds is a lovely city and he'll have a great time there. There are also some fantastic gardens nearby for those times when you visit. ;) Scampston isn't too far away. I sympathise about the M1. We used to live in Guildford and trips to family were tortuous with the combo of the M25 and M1. I can highly recommend the Yorkshire Sculpture Park for a pit stop. Just off the M1 near Wakefield. Great exhibitions, fantastic cafe, shop and grounds to stretch your legs. Hasn't it been gorgeous weather. We had storms last night and it's misty and murky today but all in all a pretty good year for growing. Have a lovely weekend. x

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    1. In the end I didn't see much of Leeds, Welly, as I had to try and navigate my way round the city's one way traffic systems! I must have gone past the town hall at least ten times! The surrounding countryside is gorgeous and the drive wasn't too bad after all. Thanks for the tips on the local gardens, next time I'll try to stay longer and have more of a look round!

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  12. It was good to see you still have a plentiful harvest. Hope you had a good journey up to Leeds and your son has a great time at Uni both of my children had a great time. Sarah x

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    1. What a coincidence that your children went to Leeds as well, Sarah! It seemed to be a city in tune with it's students to me so I'm sure he'll have a great time, thanks! Cx

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  13. Hope your son got off to uni ok and that he's settled in. We're a lovely bunch up here in Leeds, we'll look after him for you. They soon learn to fend for themselves, Daniel didn't even bother coming home for the summer, he stayed in York. Looks like you're still harvesting plenty and the weather is set to stay nice for a while longer so I'm hoping that means that the plants will keep on producing for a while longer too.

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    1. Awww, thanks, Jo. He was ready to start his next big adventure and has settled in well. I've always said that northern folk are friendlier than us lot down south; I loved my time living in Yorkshire as a teenager! As I write, the weather has dipped slightly but I have my brassicas to look forward to this year so hopefully will be harvesting for a while yet - plus there's all that preserving to keep me busy!

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  14. I am envious of your rain Caro, my beans have slowed right down, I suspect that if I watered more I'd still be picking. Leeds is a great city, and as WW said, lots of good gardens around and about too! BTW, did you have any luck with your cucamelons? Mine were a dismal failure :-(

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    1. My beans were still producing until a few days ago, Janet but now the leaves are looking tired so I think the end is nearing! My cucamelons have disappeared under a sea of nasturtiums! I'm hoping that when I can hack my way past the courgettes, rhubarb and nasturtiums that there may be a few cucamelons lurking but it's certainly not the success I was hoping for! Actually, I'd forgotten all about them until you asked! ;) x

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Caro x

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