Garden Views-09-September 2020

September began with cool but bright and dry conditions after a rare run of 3 dry days in a row (for the summer of 2020) saw August finished, over the bank holiday weekend.

The first 36 hours of the month yielded several amazing sky and cloud scapes to kick off the more autumnal months of 2020, typical of why I love this time of the year here….

Before grey skies and rain drifted in on the morning of the second, after a fabulous full and golden “Corn” moon on the evening of the first.

The first 10 days of the month continued in the main with very low light levels, grey clouds, drizzle or rain at times and often minimal wind. Though mornings and evenings often saw wonderful breaks in the cloud.

Many later season plants seem very late into flower this year- Salvia, Sedum and Asters – probably because of the lack of strong sunshine from summer onwards.

But a highlight has been the value of Devil’sbit Scabious, recently added to the garden after growing many plants from seed, both as a nectar source, and visually.

Butterflies made the most of any benign breaks in the weather, and there was a special moment when one landed on my cheek…We were fortunate to enjoy a rare day of sunshine and clouds with no rain for our NGS promoted Great British Garden Party on Saturday 5th when 4 invited couples enjoyed the chance to chat and have tea outside.

We were fortunate to have planned this event before the suggested week for events in mid September, by which time national restrictions limited numbers to 6 for any event in England. Thanks to the efforts of Elena, our current Cothigardener’s chair, in hosting her own event and encouraging Mark and Ros; and John and Helen to do the same, a combined total of £560 was raised to donate to the Marie Curie nursing charity.

Moving on into the middle of the month a high pressure system finally brought glorious blue skies, warm temperatures and sunshine to the West of the country, timed for a week’s walking away in the Shropshire hills. We returned to very dry conditions, with enough still sunny and windy days to complete haymaking in the upper meadow – the latest ever.

The month ended with the weather at last turning to more autumnal wet and windy fare, with some fabulous rainbows……and on a plus note, all the swarms of bees were still viable at the end of the month, though the last one, from mid July was looking very weak. Plus a bonus of a partly filled top (third) super removed from the first swarmed colony in what has been recognised as being a very poor summer for foraging for bees locally. Not a bad achievement for a swarm only installed on undrawn foundationless frames in late May.There were many wonderful scenes around the garden which completely dispelled our memories of the previous three months… So overall a much needed, really lovely month, with quite low rainfall of 116.6 mm, and a very rare spell of 12 days in a row without rain. The month even ended with quite a rare blue moon, just before a deluge created spate like conditions in the stream.

The PV output of 351.96 KWH exceeded August’s – something that I don’t think has happened before, given the shorter days and one less day in the month.