22 June 2012

What the Light Was Like

Okay, let's get the wet weather out of the way first... autumnal is the only polite way to describe it. The continuing wind and rain have left damage in their wake - like those soft new tips of spruce (I think) battered and broken off the trees in Djouce, carpeting the forest floor. The local field is flooded and in the park, under the Scots pines, large puddles catch the morning light. The snails are enjoying it though, a pair I found on top of the (overflowing of course!) water barrel next to the greenhouse, were taking their sweet hermaphroditic time... 
Summer Spruce tips hit the ground
Puddling weather
Taking their time...
Morning light on a Scots Pine
But solstice is about the light and though the weather feels autumnal, the light arrives early and lingers long to give us the grey nights of summer. We've had some sunny mornings and the light through the lime trees or making patterns on the Scots pine bark is beautiful. 

It comes a surprise when the weather has been so unkind, but it's good to remember that it's day length that makes a huge difference to the plants. Fruits are ripening in the garden: the raspberries gave me a pleasant surprise this week, the loganberries are starting to turn, and the blueberries are changing from
chartreuse to a pale grey-green before they head for that delicious wild-tasting ripeness that tastes so good. Green gooseberries are also fattening up nicely and soon I'll combine them with water, sugar and elderflowers to make a wonderfully summery jelly; already we've been enjoying elderflower cordial. 

Loganberries start to ripen
Gooseberries swell
Up at the allotment, things have been moving along too, primarily the weeds: knee-high grasses hide the raised beds; twisted infinite cords of bindweed find their way up the pea sticks; thistles lurk amongst the spinach to stab the unwary gardener; and slugs have discovered the (now ex-) runner beans and courgettes. BUT! we tasted our first spuds this week, mixed with three different mints, rocket, chives and garlic chives from the garden. Yum. The red onions are swelling nicely and we might even get some broad beans and peas and beets. 
New Potatoes from the allotment
I borrowed the title of this week's blog from a poem (and book) by Amy Clampitt. And while looking for a link to her on the web, I found this:

"... Watching the longest day take cover under
a monk's-cowl overcast,
with thunder, rain and wind, then waiting,
we drop everything to listen as a
hermit thrush distills its fragmentary,
hesitant, in the end

unbroken music."

from A Hermit Thrush by Amy Clampitt

Appropriate lines for the sort of solstice that dawned this week...

Clampitt came to mind for a few reasons--the light of course since we've reached summer solstice--but also because this week marks six months since my brother died close to the winter solstice, and it was he who introduced me to Clampitt's poetry. That particular poem, What the Light Was Like, is about someone dying, but is also a dense, lyrical paean to a place as well as a person - its complexity, its language and its richness would have appealed very much to my big brother.



  1. Anonymous22 June, 2012

    Yer wunderful...making a summer out of a pigs ear! Brill photos. Graineweile

  2. Thanks GrĂ¡ine, hope the boat trip continues to go well...