Yes it is definitely feeling autumnal now. So first this week some apples.
Crab apples. This tree was packed with blossom earlier in the year and we have some fruits but not as much as other years. They are also a bit scaby.
2. Another apple – this time an eater – a Bardsey. Again very few fruit but one of the few which has fruited this year (we had a very late frost).
3. Chilli peppers in the greenhouse. I just had one plant, but it has a good crop so I will probably dry them.
4. Caterpillar damage on the brassicas – mostly in the polytunnel. The netted beds outside are generally okay.
5. Now this one is puzzling. This is purple sprouting broccoli which isn’t relay supposed to produce broccoli till spring – so is it just very confused or did I plant it too early? I shouldn’t complain though as I will enjoy eating it.
6. And finally two of our seven chicks . They are growing quick.
We have had a minor disaster this week in that strong winds (not even a storm, but a gust of strong wind during some heavy rain) felled one of my favourite apple trees. Both in 2017 and in 2018 it was also our most productive tree so a big loss.
Annie Elizabeth apple tree
Here in the west of Ireland we have had a very wet spell with what feels like constant rain. So while there are good blackberries and autumn raspberries, many are going rotten because of the rain.
We have a reasonable crop of cob nuts, but each year we loose a lot to nut weevil grubs. We wait to see what this year brings.
It’s all a bit negative isn’t it – so here is some positive news. The chicks are growing. They have been moved out to the polytunnel during the day, and are enjoying consuming chickweed which tends to seed itself in the poly and greenhouse!!
While in County Clare I really saw the value of scabious as a pollinator plant. We do have a small patch of wild devils-bit scabious but it is one thing I will try and grow more of next year. I also hope to try out some of the cultivated forms too.
Devils bit scabious with pollnantors
Devils bit scabious with hoverfly
Finally for this weeks six, Osteospermum. In one of my previous gardens, this plant did really well, but it has failed to thrive here in the west. This time I bought a potted plant and just re-potted it in a larger pot. And this is its second flowering. I will over winter in the greenhouse or polytunnel and maybe keep it as a pot plant for next year.
I managed to get another photograph of a dragonfly today. I spotted this one while cutting the beech hedge. It was a little worn, possibly having been caught out in a couple of the very heavy showers we had today. I think it is the blue form of a female common hawker, but open to correction. Neil has corrected me – it is a Brown Hawker, Aeshna grandis.
Finally the coneflowers are flowering, but there doesn’t appear to be many flower heads.
The chicks are growing and they had their first explore of the greenhouse today.
And look what my daughter found in the garden, left over from the Easter bunny!!
And finally we have been enjoying the first blackberries from the hedgerows and bog road!
Today we were introduced to some beautiful and very old elm trees. Many elms in Ireland were lost to Dutch elm disease but this is one of a few magnificent specimens that survived.
I haven’t yet introduced you to our new arrivals – they are just over a week old now, seven little chicks!
We have borrowed some much from nature including honey bees. All bees were originally wild bees, Apis melifera, but thousands of years ago humans thought it would be a good idea to provide bees with hives so we could steal their honey! This is an interesting article about the history of honey bees.
And finally something blue. Regular readers may remember a few weeks I showed you the Common blue butterfly – I managed to get a photo today of it’s wings open. This is a female not quite as blue as the male, but still very pretty, even if a little weather-worn.