Here are some notes and images from previous years, beginning with 2015 (at the bottom).
A cold frosty day in December. Shape and colour accentuated by slanting light. Two of the rose family above: wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca) keeps its leaves most of the winter; a Rosa species in the hedge displays its hips.
Below are three of the cropland’s small trees: field maple in a hedge (top), hazel (bottom right) and blackthorn sloes, still round, yet to shrivel.
September 2016 The ‘root’ brassicas, mainly swede this year, and beet, are still bulking and not much affected by pests. The peas next to them have been uprooted, leaving the nitrogen-rich roots and nodules in the ground for the next crop. Next to them are a few pumpkins and ornamental maize.
Most of the flowering plants are well into seeding – just the occasional scabious and bugloss left for the bumble bees. Images below show a range of seeding heads – a dense whorl of wild basil (Lamiaceae), just released pappus-born seeds of hemp-agrimony (Compositae) and the enclosed, russet capsules of St John’s-wort (Clusiaceae).
July 2016 The medicinals and herbs bed has become a mass of varied shape and colour. The sequence of flowering plants continues in late July with the Labiates betony Stachys officinalis, a perennial, and large-flowered hemp-nettle Galeopsis speciosa, a self seeding annual.
New in 2016 is the common blue-sowthistle Cicerbita macrophylla, flowering from early July (images below), now far from common in the croplands, flowers similar to but paler than the chicory which is still to bloom. Half a dozen plants were moved here earlier in the year from a roadside location where they had recovered from spraying in a previous year.
In addition to potato and vegetables, the arable plot was broadcast with bere barley, which is now well into flowering together with its customary weeds such as fat-hen Chenopodium album, corn spurry Spergula avensis and henbit dead-nettle Lamium amplexicaule. Elsewhere, there is some serious weeding to do – ragwort, creeping thistle and fireweed (Epilobium).
Mid-May 2016 The sun is moving slowly towards its high point for the year, yet many of the plants were held back by the cool of April and the recent clear days causing high evaporation of water. Rain changed that in the past week and there’s an explosion of leaf and stem. The angelica and lovage should reach more than six feet in height.
Each year, the medicinals bed is left until we can see which plants have survived and reseeded: there is much to sort and move but the weeds take advantage. Gladys and Paul have tilled the crops section and will complete planting soon.
Back in early March, the garden was starting to de-saturate after the wet winter. Most plants were still biding their time, but there has been little frost this year and already the woad stems are beginning to elongate. Perennials that keep their leaves, including the rosemary below, look fine, showing little cold damage.
The hedge at the south end has been neatly cut, the branches of the gean (wild cherry) showing a deep orange-red.
Teasel heads have emerged intact after the winter and signs of renewed life appears in the hazel catkins and new shoots of the hedgerow plants, of which elder is among the first (images below).
Early October 2015. The barley varieties and landraces, together with emmer, spelt, rye and black oat in the cereals collection and the two potato varieties have been harvested. Some swedes, parsnips, cabbages and leeks have also been taken up. Maize is still filling its cobs but may come to nothing (Fiberoptic 4) while one sorghum might just flower before the frost gets to it and the millet remains vegetative.
Most of the meadow has been cut. The equinox is ten days past and autumn is well under way.
Images above show (top left, clockwise) rows of potato being harvested, the produce of a potato plant, bloom of dyer’s greenweed, swede and red beet just pulled, the meadow cut and sloes in the hedge.
And earlier in the summer 2015 …
Images above: (top left, clockwise) dark mullein in the foreground, seeding stem of large-flowered hemp-nettle, chicory flower, blue-grey cabbage, maize silk.
And despite the wet, most of the plants were in full flower between late June and late September. Images below, taken 29 June 2015 (top left clockwise) across the medicinals bed, fox and cubs in the foreground, then feverfew and the blue spikes behind viper’s bugloss; fox and cubs in flower, foxglove, teasel head forming and foxglove flowers close up.