This is proving to be a very strange year in the garden. Everything seems a little muddled up. I’ve been waiting for my sunflowers to bloom up at the allotment for what seems like months now, but this week, finally, one has.


Given what a gloomy week this is proving to be weather-wise, a welcome occurence. Arguably this is brightening up my garden too and I should be happy:

Colouring Vine

But ordinarily it would be at least another month before my Vitis vinifera purpurea started to wear its Autumn colour. I even found a red leaf lurking in my acer today.

Purple Foxglove In August

At the other end of the scale, I’ve suddenly got yet another foxglove. Blooming in August.

Ripening Marmande

Some surprises are definitely welcome. I’ve been on tomato watch for weeks now, so I was overjoyed to see that finally some of the larger tomatoes are starting to ripen – this is Marmande, not as far along as Sara’s, though in fairness hers are growing in her greenhouse, and after reading b-a-g’s post I am thinking about popping the partially ripened toms off the vine and finishing them indoors. Just in case.

Numex Twilight

I do finally have some chillies, though not nearly as many as I would have hoped. I didn’t sow them until March 1st, so between that and the cooler, overcast weather I think my dreams of being self sufficient in chillies is just that, a dream. I love the purple colour of Numex Twilight, but I think it will be Thai Dragon I pick first:

Thai Dragon

I just hope they aren’t as disappointingly bland as last year’s crop. I think that’s why I am putting off picking any…

Supposedly Hillcrest Royal

Most of my dahlias are being rather tardy this year too. I have several in pots that are happily flowering away, and have been since late July, but this is supposedly Hillcrest Royal. I have my doubts, as it is meant to be a deep cerise pink. Personally, I’d call that red. Scarlet, even. ‘Rip City’ is happily doing its thing in the borders, but even (I’ll be optimistic) Hillcrest Royal only has a few buds just breaking, and the other two in the ground are still furled tight.

My garden is confused. I am confused. Am I alone, or are other people experiencing strange anomalies?

38 thoughts on “At last!

  1. Strange times we live in. Many of the veggies that usually do well haven’t this year and vice versa. And the trees look like they are into autumn already.
    Your pepper crop looks very good, Janet. And that sunflower is worth waiting for!

    1. Its quite confusing for newbies like me in the veg patch! But yes, the sunflower was worth waiting for. By the end of August I may even have the sunflower hedge I had planned for!

  2. Janet – That sunflower is worthy of a Van Gogh painting.
    Not much is happening in my garden, can’t really tell if it is spring, summer or autumn.
    Thanks for the shout-out.

    1. Hi b-a-g, you’re welcome. It is proving to be a very muddled year, as if the seasons have got themselves all intertwined like some daft game of Twister undertaken when a little drunk…

  3. I’ve had my first tomatoes today; very yummy indeed!

    We also still have Foxgloves blooming here; not complaining but it is very odd as you say. It’s all still very dry here, we have had rain over the past week but often it’s dry very quickly because it’s just so hot and muggy. I positively hate this type of weather as it’s hot, sticky and makes my hair frizz.

    1. I’m frizzing lots too, I hate humidity. We’re loving the cherry toms, very delicious, but I did so want to be eating the monster ones by now… Never satisfied, us gardeners!

  4. Yes our garden is also confused – our dahlias are just beginning to flower too.

    We have had sunflowers on flower for a while but only those that were self sown the ones we sowed haven’t even any buds yet

    1. Am so glad it is not just me. I hope the frosts are late so that we get to enjoy the dahlias for a while, they are soooo late!

  5. Same here with the season messing with the bloom times. I have had vine red tomatoes for weeks, but they are really tasteless this year. They ripened long before they should have and the flavor is paying for that. I have about 60 tomatoes ready to eat that are on my windowsill and that is after make salsa out of about 30 today. I am ready to pull the plants even though the plants and tomates look so healthy and like they are magazine worthy. They just are not very tasty. And to see if it was just my tomatoes, I bought some from a big local grower. Same tasteless tomatoes. And these were Big Boys, not my Early Girls. The heirlooms I am growing are fairing a little better, but are far from ripening. They were planted from seed late this year. I will see how they taste in a few weeks.

    My chilis look about like yours and I picked some today for the salsa. My pear is getting red leaves already too. Strange, strange year.

    1. Sorry to hear about your tasteless toms Donna, its bad enough when you get that from shop-bought, but your own lovely looking toms should delight the palate. If mine are tasteless as well as tardy I might just throw a tantrum! Crazy weather all over, I hope it is not the shape of things to come, though I am sure we will all adjust.

  6. You are not alone! This has been a very strange year, in weather terms. The weather this week has definitely not been what we expect in August.

    1. I was huddled in a jumper and warm socks earlier this week, then last night couldn’t sleep for the heat. No wonder the plants are confused.

  7. Hi Janet, agree it’s been a mixed bag this year. The only tip I have for ripening toms – mine are in the greenhouse – is 2 or 3 overipe bananas under them which will hopefully get mine ripe in time for our local show next Saturday fingers crossed!

    1. Hi Damo, as I type this I have a bowl full of not-quite-ripe toms with a very ripe banana sat on our kitchen table…

  8. That’s a lovely sunflower, which as you know I really like and grow lots of them !
    Yes it’s been a very confusing year in many ways, due mainly to the dry, warm spring and somewhat dull, indifferent summer which was rather like a reversal of seasons. Most flowers have bloomed at least a month early and I do wonder what will happen as we head into spring.
    The tomatoes need plenty of sunshine, which we’ve not had much of!
    Strawberries were finished by the start of Wimbledon and it’s been a brilliant year for blackberries but again way too early.
    Like most years there have been ups and downs, successes and failures. Next year it will all be different again! Flighty xx

    1. My magnolia has been blooming – not much, but enough for me to worry about its ability to put on a good show next Spring… Ah well, all part of the adventure that is gardening!

  9. Timing is strange here, too. Since my veggie garden only gets afternoon sun, it’s not surprising that it’s tardy. But earlier in the season everything bloomed at once. Now lots of plants seem to be prepping for autumn already–Sedums, Sumacs, Burning Bush, Maples, and others are starting to show color. Argh! It’s too early. Maybe the heat stressed them, and now it’s cooler than the usual August. I’m not complaining about the temps, though, because we’ve had perfect weather for several weeks on end. :) But I don’t like what comes after autumn. :(

    1. Mm, yes, it does rather feel as if we are already staring down the throat of winter, with all those grey leaden skies, without the benefit of lots of sunny days now to compensate.

  10. Seems to be a strange year all round. My primroses are flowering and so is the Choysia. I am glad your tomatoes are starting to go red, I have visions of making lot of green tomato chutney. :-) Ronnie

    1. Primroses?! Goodness! Glad I am not alone with all this confusing out of season blooming.

  11. Janet, I do like the colour blending of your snapdragons underneath the sensational sunflower snap. My confusion lies more in my ‘where have all the flowers gone’ garden. Chrysanths have been blooming since late Spring and no doubt will disappear by Autumn, which seems to be creeping upon us. Fallen leaves on lawn though due to earlier drought I hope!

    1. It is a bit much when leaves start falling this early, isn’t it. Thank you for noticing the snapdragon + sunflower combo, I am rather chuffed with it!

  12. There does not seem to be such a thing as a “normal” year any more Janet so hence always surprises. A glorious sunflower but then I always associate them with late summer/ early autumn so yours seems timed to perfection but foxgloves in August now there’s a puzzle !

    1. I fear you could be right Anna, though this year seems more than usually disturbed – and disturbing…

  13. Our summer here has been unusually wetter and cooler than most years, and so that has brought about several strange events in the garden….more fungal diseases, more growth, and a greener lawn. Your sunflower is such a gorgeous color.

    1. I hate fungal diseases, some how so ugly. Still, I suppose a greener lawn is nice.

  14. Several other people have been remarking how autumnal the latest weather seems to feel, I agree. Funny enough whilst passing by a park on my way to work the other day there was quite a sizeable amount of fallen leaves on the pavement. I don’t normally this much leaf fall till October at least…

    Oh dear…Still I’m hoping for the the return of summer. We still have the rest of August and September to hope for one, cross fingers! :)

    1. We can’t bypass summer and go straight to Autumn, surely?! I thought I was joking when I said back in April that this was going to be our summer… I think fallen leaves will have a lot to do with the dry weather, but I am not holding my breath for it being a really good year for leaf colour in October.

  15. Lovely sunflower. We planted ours along the back hedge this year and though they have been blooming, rather inconsiderately they have turned away from the house and garden to look across the valley. I suppose the cows are enjoying them!
    Your marmande looks much healthier than our greenhouse plant, some lovely fruit to come there.
    The weather has been very strange indeed. I am far from ready for Autumn – come back, Summer, all is forgiven…

    1. Ah, my secret is that my allotments sunflowers are also facing the wrong way – I thought they would follow the sun round, so that they would always be visible from my bench. How wrong I was… I’m sure you have made the cows happy though!

      Am DEFINITELY not ready for Autumn yet, I want ripe tomatoes eaten warm with mozzarella with a glass of something lovely, outside. Please?!

  16. With our drought conditions we have had a lot of plants showing their fall colors very early. Not sure what your typical summer is like or what your summer was…maybe that could be part of the strange summer into fall.

    1. Hi Janet, we have had very little rain, so I think that is probably a lot to do with the early fall colour and leaf drop we are seeing.

  17. Shh no talk of autumn please, we’ve not had summer yet up here.

    Ace on the tomatoes finally beginning to ripen, we do the same by bringing them indoors or pickign the almost ripe ones to let the others get on a bit more, I put them on a sunny windowsill or table in a nice shallow bowl and they ripen away fine.

    We’re quite slow behind up here, so I can’t determine whether or not things are muddled or not, Imean, despite having given up on making elderflower cordial last week, I keep seeing the odd tree still in flower………………..?

    My beetroots are tiny and my onions were not very good this year – fingers crossed eh?

    Oh, and my sunflower has just broken into flower (in the polytunnel) yay!

    Well done on the chillis, I must investigate mine :)

  18. Hi Fay, on the subject of the next season, my lips are sealed! Can’t believe you still have elderflower in bloom! Mind you, I keep reading about people picking blackberries, and ours are nowhere near ready. Hope your beetroot and onions put on a growth spurt. Have only just realised that sunflowers don’t, in fact, follow the sun round but just face East. Which would explain why ours up at the allotment stubbornly stay with their backs to our plot, cheering up next door instead :-(

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