July began where June left off with sunny warm weather and a chance to cut a second batch of wildflower hay from our steep High Meadow with the BCS Power Scythe, in its first full year of hay productivity. By now our good friend and neighbouring smallholder, Dave Bevan, had thought about, designed, and made a manual baler from ‘to hand’ materials. This provedbrilliantly efficient and resilient at turning out small, manageable tightly packed bales, tied with reusable pre-cut baler twine lenghts. So the whole manual haymaking process has developed hugely in a year when we’ve had the luxury of plenty of time and weather opportunities to experiment. We all had lots of chances to play with the Bevan Baby Baler, since after a few days of mixed weather with some much needed rain before the middle of the month, the temperatures rose into the high 20’s from the 19th, and we had many days of glorious sunshine with energy sapping high humidity and sometimes brisk winds. The final sections of the hay meadow were cut around the 20th, apart from small areas of late flowering Bird’s Foot Trefoil. Our lower meadows continue to make progress – it’s hard to think that just 10 months ago they were mainly shoulder high rushes, and had been for decades.
In the garden the roses continued to excel, as did Hydrangeas and Clematis, but anything in pots began to suffer as we went into water conservation mode. The swallows have had one of their most successful summers ever with such clement conditions. Our tyre garden border has continued to delight us with a huge improvement in perennial flower diversity over the last year. Another interesting peach/lemon seedling of Linaria purpurea popped up here to add to the small list of unique Gelli plant variants, which now also includes several climbing/rambling roses.
July 2014 reminded us both of summers as we used to remember them!
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