The gallica rose is in full bloom, but it is soaking wet. After a lovely fortnight, the summer is cold and rainy, and the whole garden is lush and dripping. The strawberries have all been eaten by the sparrows and starlings, but there are gooseberries and blackcurrants aplenty. The angelica is setting seeds in flower-heads like great chandeliers, and there are marigolds and borage in flower. I have been drying sage and thyme, and taking cuttings, some of which have struck, but not as many as I might have expected. The tomatoes are beginning to set fruit, but they are looking chilled, and I’ve shut the greenhouse door for a day or two.
On the verges the cow parsley is going over, but ox-eye daisy and willow herb are going strong and the thistles are just feeling their strength before they flower. Usually there are clouds of clover and vetch, but not so much this year. On the other hand, the wild roses and elder flower have been magnificent.
The young birds have done very well, apart from the black-backed gulls. They took up residence among the rubble of the warehouse they used to nest on, but surveyors seem to have disturbed them at the wrong time, and I haven’t seen any chicks this year. I am sure that the smaller birds will benefit, but gulls (although they seem so prevalent, not to mention annoying) are endangered now, and I miss the racket they usually make. I’ve seen more kestrels, however, and the first bat, and this morning I saw a juvenile great spotted woodpecker on the birch tree in the garden – it’s an ill summer that doesn’t favour some species!