It has been an extraordinary year. An unusually wet winter, followed by an unusually dry Spring and Summer. We had two days of almost torrential rain, and then plunged into an Indian Summer. ( I am writing only of the local experience - other areas have been very different.)
I have heard that many people, having experienced bumper fruit crops last year, have fared less well this year. We have been lucky. Our apples have produced similar crops to last year. The pear tree, having been caught by a late frost, produced no ripe fruit last year. This year, we had more than we can eat. Such a joy to be able to preserve some, and share some with family and friends. The plums did well, too, but went from ripe to mouldy almost overnight, if not watched. The damsons are still being picked. The mulberry tree has produced a pleasing crop, too. We have to keep checking, and then picking when we see some ripe fruit .... the Blackbirds have discovered them, and will gorge themselves and take everything if they can.
In our hedgerows, the fruiting trees are looking good... Spindle Tree, ( above ) will split the calyx on the seeds soon, and the seeds will shine a bright orange though the pink shell.
The dog roses and eglantynes have been wonderful, so the hedges are covered in these hips, really splashing the dulled green of late summer foliage with some life.
I can only remember the name of one. The amazing bloom above is from a dahlia called Nick Sr. It is the size of my hand with fingers spread out, like a star.
And this last one is actually much darker than the picture shows. A really rich, intense colour.