Sunday, 5 August 2018

High Summer 2018

The heatwave over the past three months without any rain to speak of has changed our landscape from its usual lush greenness into something that resembles coconut matting. 

I miss our green landscape, and our garden is slowly withering away on the vine. Admittedly some plants are happy - we were sent 50 free Geranium plugs earlier in the year which are now looking magnificent even without rain. The fig tree is heavily laden and large bunches of grapes are busily ripening.

The seed pods of Honesty - Lunaria annua are ready to be harvested and prepared for vases - don't delay, do it now. Should we happen to receive some rain then it is very likely that the resultant moisture will turn the silver sheath within the seed pods black. 
Seed pods early summer
Freshly picked from the garden, and admittedly not looking very inspiring. 
This year there is no need to dry them by hanging them upside down, mother nature has already completed that task for you.
Hold a seed pod by the stem or the small projection at the opposite end, and gently peel off one side at a time revealing the pods silver sheath and seeds within.
A little time and patience, and you will be rewarded with some elegant bunches of 'silver dollars' with which to decorate your homes.


34 comments:

  1. It really is very hot over in the UK this year, and I did not realise that there was very little rain also. Australian farmers are in deep trouble from the worst drought in 50 years also, and it all seems to add up to Global Warming. We have had the warmest Winter ever recorded in July. Seeing you grass so brown is quite amazing, and I hope you have rain very soon. The silver dollar plant is so attractive. Having never seen it here, I imagine how delightful to have it around the house.
    PS I showed your Sri Lanka posts to my Little Aussie (Oscar) grandson, and he was very excited to know you went to the Temple with Buddha's tooth. He went through the photos and enjoyed pointing to about half of them saying he had been there. Loved the leopard in the tree, and pointed out correctly the sloth bear without having a chance to read anything. Thank you again for an enjoyable photo experience for our family.

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    1. Dear Patricia - it is so lovely to know that you had a successful chat with Little Aussie and showed him the photos. By the way I do like his name very much. Thank you for letting me know.
      The whole of Europe is bright orange or red on the weather maps every day - there are bound to be some dire consequences for us here as a result of it - already the farmers are having problems feeding their livestock.

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  2. Beautiful photos, green grassfields are all gone here too. It looks like a desert.

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    1. A cold snowy winter and now this - what is happening?

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  3. Your purple Geraniums are gorgeous. I have never seen that color before. The seed pods of Honesty Sell in florist shops here but I am not sure we can grow them in my part of the world. I would love to have some in an arrangement. 

    It is so sad to see the damage the drought has done.  Not just to the green landscape but to rivers, lakes and reservoirs.  This surely will effect the tree fall colors. I hope you get some rain soon.

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    1. Yes, I wonder too if it will have an effect on the autumn colours? One of the big problems is the growing shortage of fodder for our livestock as the farmers have already started using hay that should be saved for winter feed. Sorry I appear to have mislead you, that purple flower is not a Geranium but the Honesty flowers from earlier in the spring. I would have thought that it would be very likely that you could grow some Honesty in your garden.

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  4. Hello Rosemary, I am sorry for your drought. Northern Ohio, at least, seems to be getting the proper amount of rain, and all is green here. I never knew before how those "silver dollars" were prepared--I am always learning something from you!
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - I am pleased to learn that you are safely home in Ohio, and hope that you enjoy a great vacation with your family and friends.
      Preparing the 'silver dollars' is very satisfying as they rapidly change from looking as dull as ditch water to something delicate, shiny, and pleasing.

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  5. The geraniums certainly are splendid!

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    1. Sorry William - my fault for not making it clearer, those are actually Honesty flowers.

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  6. Great photos. Hope you get rain soon.

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  7. Oh that is dry. Where my stepdaughter is between Sydney and Canberra they have had no good rain for over a year and things are very serious. She has to buy feed in for her horses and the 5000 acre "farm" next door sent of a lot of stock away several months ago. The fire danger is very serious.

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    1. Don't know where the word "of" came from.

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    2. As the weeks pass it is becoming more and more serious especially for the farmers - both arable and livestock are suffering. Officially the heatwave is now worse than the one in 1976, and great swathes of Europe are going up in flames each week. The first fires were on the moors north of Manchester, then tragically in Greece, and now the flames are whipping around Portugal and Spain.

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  8. I've been reading about how the dry hot summer is revealing landscape features from long ago, outlines of gardens and buildings, and such. I hope it rains soon, and cools down. Such heat is devastating for farmers.
    I think Honesty would grow here, and what stems result! The transformation is almost magical. The flowers are pretty, as well.

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    1. Having seen the flowers that you grow Lorrie, I am sure that Honesty would grow very happily in your garden.

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  9. Dearest Rosemary,
    What a pity that a terrible drought is affecting your area.
    Unreal for England and also for The Netherlands from where I've seen already photos with brown lawns.
    Here it is the opposite, way too much water!
    Love your Honesty being nice dry. We call them in Dutch Judas Penny.
    Enjoy the little that remains of beauty from the garden.
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - That is a very good name for the dried Honesty seedpods - Judas Penny - they certainly do resemble 30 pieces of silver.
      The whole of Europe is suffering unnatural heat this summer, and it does keep going on and on. The farmers are now extremely worried about how they will feed their livestock through the winter months as the animals are already using fodder stacked away for the winter months, and there is nothing growing to replenish it.

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  10. I've seen them in parks now and again but never knew what they were called. Spare a thought for Australia- they are in winter now(usually the rainy cool season over there) and its drier than the Home Counties. Must be grim to work in that heat all year round but luckily my sister has retired now.
    Our UK wildlife must be feeling it with all the fire damage and streams drying up.

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    1. Susan Heather comments above that the area between Sydney and Canberra has had no rain for a year and how very serious it has become. When we were in Cape Town last year they also had the worse drought they could remember, and people think that global warming is just a figment of the imagination!
      We are making sure that our bird bath is topped up daily and have started to put some water out for the foxes, deer and badges.

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  11. I can't even imagine England without lush green rolling countryside. I certainly hope this weather is not here to stay.

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    1. This swathe of continuous hot weather across Europe without any rain to speak of is really of great concern.

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  12. These are amazing looking plants, I love the background of these photos. Thanks for the share, have a fantastic rest of your week. Keep up the posts. Great photos, loved seeing these.
    World of Animals

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  13. Great photos! Yes the summer has been too hot, too sunny and too dry..I´m now longing for the Autumn :)
    Love from Titti

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    1. I am calling out for rain Titti - lots of it.

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  14. It has been a challenging time gardening this summer our plants haven't grown so tall or for so long. The golden fields are beautiful but like you I miss the green. Sarah x

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  15. Your final photo is beautiful, Rosemary, it looks like a stained glass window. It is rather desperate in my garden, quite a few things have died while others have flourished in the heat. Rain today - at last!

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    1. Yes, we too had our first decent fall of rain this morning, but it was all over too quickly, and this afternoon it is back to blue skies again. I expect that your weather is rather similar to ours - for some reason last weeks rain kept missing us out.
      The last photo is a decoupage fire screen made to look like an old Dutch master painting with flowers, butterflies, and fruit - I stood the vase of honesty seeds in front of it.

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  16. Wonderful photos.
    This year, all over the world, the weather is very different from what was usual.
    Have a happy weekend
    Maria
    Divagar Sobre Tudo um Pouco

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    1. Thank you Maria - I understand that it is very, very hot in Portugal.

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