August 2015 proved to be a hugely disappointing, end of summer, month. With 195.3 mm it was one of the wettest months of the year so far, with generally poor light levels.And no settled periods of fine weather. A brief interlude around the middle of the month allowed us to take a snap crop of hay from our lower wet meadow.Which was mono-culture soft rush, Juncus effusus, just two years ago, but the conditions have otherwise been poor for most plants.
It has also been the poorest summer I can recall for late garden butterflies, and no Sedum spectabile flowers had even opened by the month’s end. Though we had some ‘early’ Peacock butterflies, Aglais io, around the Buddleia, and even a rarely sighted, Hummingbird hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum.We grow almost no brassicas now, apart from Russian kale, but this year would probably fared well, since there are also almost no Large or Small White butterflies around.
A few cool nights have prompted many colourful waxcap mushrooms to pop up. We’ve now found several new species this year, and also found examples of them in all of our meadows. This is a real delight, and a sign that the meadows are in fine ‘old fashioned’ fettle, thanks mainly to the lack of any supplementary nitrogen fertilisers, or muck over the last couple of decades.