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Hot Busy Bees

10/8/2020


The heat wave is persisting and we are unlikely to get a storm before tomorrow. The heat is taking its toll on everything, animals and plants. Pecky has stopped laying eggs and is only interested on what extra bits I bring her. Her absolute favourite is grapes, which she worryingly swallows whole and luckily I have some grapes that are past their best to give her over these difficult days. The cats are in despair, desperately seeking out the shadiest corners where they collapse and appear to deflate their bodies, looking at us appealingly as if hoping we can switch the heat off! Bella does not know what to do with herself, she foolishly has not figured out that persisting in her favourite occupation of chasing planes is unwise in this heat. Luckily there are lots of shady places to lie down on the grass, (hopefully not in my flower bed), and Patrick is often discovered lying next to her!

Then there are the poor plants. I’ve had a few fatalities; a couple of heather plants have dried out beyond salvation and I am having to be very careful to spot other potential casualties. The Annabelle hydrangeas are never happy in heat and rudbeckias and astilbes dry out really quickly. But I am also noticing unhappy phlox, asters, heleniums and even Echinacea and I always feel it’s best to keep roses regularly watered. I’m sure everyone will be pleased to hear the hosepipe is still keeping me on my toes. When I started to use it yesterday, the nozzle popped off and it drenched me in uncomfortably hot water, that had been already in the pipe, which I suppose makes a change from freezing cold water, however, that would be preferable at the moment!

We had a call from Hillingdon Borough’s tree surgeon today apologising for the delay in dealing with out trees on the arcaded wall. He has been called away to deal with nests of caterpillars of the Processionary Moth in the boroughs oak trees which is becoming a serious pest. The moth is called this because they travel in nose-to-tail processions, often arrow-headed with a leader followed by rows of several caterpillars abreast. I reassure him that I quite understand him being called away for this vital work, I cannot think of anything worse than us starting to lose the nations oak trees.

Luckily, we have lots of beneficial insects to make up for the destructive ones. I have been particularly struck by the bees recently, it is astounding that they are still incredibly active even in this crazy heat. The beautiful Russian Sages are alive with bees, I will try to get Aideen to video them for everyone to see and hear. When they return to the hives it is obviously too hot inside so they all crowd on the ledge outside in a big mass of bees and I suspect they stay outside during the night.

Dinner tonight includes two varieties of potato, white and red, roasted in garlic and foxtail rosemary…foxtail rosemary is a different variety with attractive soft trailing branches, one of my giant quiches which has lots of our onions and courgettes along with peppers, mushrooms and bacon. Served with a big pile of polytunnel broccoli.



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