September began with both July and August’s weather themes of being cool, cloudy and with quite a number of rainy days. A brief interlude of sunny days early in the month allowed a few garden butterflies to appear around the Buddleia flowers, and eventually we hit our magic Welsh fifteen moment on September 7th, which is over 2 weeks later than usual, and numbers never achieved the normal clouds – last year there were often over 100 in this area of the garden at any one time.
Many late summer flowers continued to be delayed into bloom, and very few of our Asters, though they now have a horrible new name I can’t remember, had flowered as expected by Michaelmas day, September 29 th. Even the ever reliable Sedum ‘Autumn Joy/Herbstfreude’ was only peaking its nectar production right at the end of September.
Though widely reported as a good year for a bumper apple crop in the UK, this was not the case here, in part because of the weather, and in part because inadequate pruning, on my part, of the trees and lower hedge meant poor air circulation in this part of the garden which increased fungal disease.
Finally around September 23rd, a high pressure system at last built over the UK – the only one this summer, it seems. The rain pretty much stopped falling, (an eventual total of 105.8 mm for the month), and the sun showed its face a bit more, and then at last all day, though temperatures weren’t really warm enough to justify it being called an Indian summer, and many days had a little bit of cloud cover.
But this dry spell continued right to the end of the month, and fortunately we had clear skies at 3.00 am on Monday September 28th, for the extremely rare last in a tetrad of super moon lunar eclipses. Entirely worthwhile setting the alarm for, as the larger than usual perigee full moon changed from bright silver to dim rusty gold, on a chilly night of stillness and quiet so complete, that the first drying leaves falling from the big oak could be clearly heard clattering to the ground.It ended up being a special month for wildlife sightings, even if the swallows all left really early and without fuss. A shortage of insects, or do they know something about the weather ahead?