Hot-at-Shingle-StreetEnd of July, hottest day of the year so far (35 degrees C) and there’s still no sign of significant rain for the eastern side of England. We are used to low rainfall as the norm here in East Anglia, but this heatwave is taking its toll even in our region where we tend to plant for dry conditions. The main barley crop has been harvested two weeks earlier than usual and there is concern that wheat yields may be down as much as 50% from their normal average for some Suffolk farms.

Green-but-not-grassWalking around Ipswich the grass is bone dry and the colour and crispness of ancient mummy bandages. Let’s pause and think for a moment who would spend hours irrigating with drinking water to keep grass green? Surely no-one as the grass will quickly recover when the rain returns and it is such a waste of clean water. Oh and, don’t be fooled by the ‘green’ photograph from Ipswich Cemetery (above), in fact that is fallen blossom from the Pride of India/Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) dusting the path. The grass is the same as everywhere else, parched.Parched-grass-cemeteryIt is pretty much the same about 15 miles away on the Suffolk coast at Shingle Street. Here the grass is dried out too, but it is dotted with colour from the wild thistles and mullein (Verbascum) enjoying the hot, dry weather and free draining coastal soil.

Interestingly more green vegetation and floral colour has been achieved by some judicious planting at the back of the Coastguards Cottages. Still hot and dry conditions for the plants, but here they are protected the rest of the year from the east wind coming off the sea.

Back-of-Coastguard-Cottages-Shingle-StreetNaturally, on the beach side of the cottages it is tough Mother Nature doing her thing as clumps of sea kale (Crambe maritima) survive on the windswept pebble shore.


Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

9 thoughts on “Parched”

  1. A really evocative post. We of course are not used to dry conditions in Yorkshire. Oh, wait. For ‘are’, read ‘were’. I’m looking out on an ochre lawn…..

    1. You know when you look at what’s happening round the globe at the moment we are getting off lightly. It is tough times especially for those with little resources.

    1. Thank you. I agree about the speed of changes brought about by extremes of weather. We’re simply not very well prepared in the UK are we? Also, folk insist on ignoring the ‘right plant for the the right place’ mantra and then spend so much time and energy trying to keep them alive.

  2. Things are desperate down-under. No winter rain. Daily temps of around 20’c where we live. Several degrees too high for this time of year. The whole state is in drought. Farmers are hand-feeding what little stock survives, and hay availability is critical. Crows target weak sheep as they are lambing. Tough, tough times for our people on the land.

    1. Oh my goodness, it sounds positively like a 19th century émigré’s survival novel. In the 21st century Mother Nature biting back just when humans think they are the masters. Have you seen the maps of global temperatures for this year so far, almost glowing there’s so much red on them.

      1. Watching all the dust kicking around, one does wonder what the landscape looked like before the 19th century settlers ring-barked all the trees.
        All the same, it’s sad to see the “sins of the fathers” wrought on the current generations. Aussie farmers are a resilient bunch, and droughts are common, but this one is particularly harsh.

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