It might only be the first week in August, but here in the sunny south-east where one would have expected a high summer air about the place, the garden is taking on more of an end of summer feeling - and as I look out of my window at the grey skies and raindrops, the weather is definitely not summery at all.
|Sunshiney sweetness in a jar|
|Marigolds on the wane|
So although many of the flowers are past their best, and the marigolds are running to seed faster than I can deadhead them, there are lots of edible bonuses to make up for the decline in prettiness.
|Sweet juicy plums|
It has been a difficult year for growing, with sunshine and drought in May, too much rain and not enough sun in June, and a cold, grey July.
|Green runner beans|
|Courgettes yellow and green|
I like to grow both green and yellow courgettes - I am not sure that there is a huge difference in flavour, but the colour combination looks lovely on the plate.
|Stubby little cucmbers|
|Rather measly garlic crop|
|Lovely red tomatoes|
And there is still lots of lettuce - the successional sowing has been a great success in keeping up supplies. What else? Kohl rabi, and carrots, beetroot and herbs, onions and potatoes - and apples for jelly and juice for those hearty breakfasts the Head Chef serves up so skilfully each morning.
And next on the preserving agenda is hedgerow jam: there are blackberries in the hedgerows, and elderberries ripening fast, so even if you don't have your own garden, perhaps you might be able to scavenge some from the roads and fields - the recipe is here if you want to make your own.
So the preserving pan beckons, and a very interesting book to look at, thus I must bid you all adieu.