After September’s exceptional lack of rain (just 13.6 mm all month), October began with some very heavy downpours, and the most impressive sustained thunderstorms we have experienced here, with lightning flashes every minute or so, for nearly an hour.With most of our bulb planting complete, we enjoyed the splashes of Crocus speciosus ‘Conqueror’ for the first time. Time will tell how viable they are in the longer term, but these perfect brief floral nuggets have illuminated the magic terrace garden for those few sunny interludes. Rain quickly flattens them.
Overall temperatures have remained benign, and by mid month most apples from our selection of spirally trained trees are safely harvested, after the best ever crop. In particular, ‘Ellison’s Orange’, ‘Brown’s’ apple and the ever reliable ‘Ashmead’s Kernel’ were star performers. The wet lower meadows look very different to the images from just a year ago when we started tackling shoulder high rushes. The battle is certainly not won, but we look forward to seeing how floriferous they might become over the next few years.
Even in mid October, the honey bees have been bringing a buzz on any benign days to the low pink spires of Persicaria vaccinifolia which now carpets big areas of gravel, and another huge excitement has been the flowering of tens of self sown seedlings of Saxifrage fortunei rubrifolia for the first time – a range of starry white flowers, with the odd pink form, and green through amber leaves – one of our favourite plants, and now planted in profusion. As October ended, most of the leaves were off – unusually early, a consequence no doubt of the very dry summer, rather than the very mild and grey damp weather for most of the months, and the fag end of hurricane ‘Gonzalo’ sweeping in from the North West. Still no frosts here yet this year. The generally grey, wet conditions impacted on photographic opportunities later in the month.
Rainfall total for the month was 224.4 mm