Summer rain

June ... mid-summer or the start of summer? As a gardener in East Anglia I think of it as the end of any risk of frost and time to plant out tender plants. Last year we were experiencing a extremely heat and drought, the grass already burnt to a frazzle, by contrast this year June has been a month of extremes ... heavy rain, windy and cloudy days and the occasional perfect summer's day.

Last year I was just completing the illustrations for Lia Leendertz's 2019 edition of The Almanac - a seasonal guide ... so the illustrations for June were the only month I could actually draw from life.

The opening illustration is of midday on a warm day in June ... maybe Midsummer Day when the sun at noon is at it's highest in the sky in the Northern hemisphere. Red Kites, now a common sight on my local walks on the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire border, ride the thermals high in the sky. In the shade of a hedgerow where wild Dog-Roses and Elderflowers fill the air with their perfume, a Blackbird is busy feeding a hungry fledgeling. Foxgloves are in flower in the grassy verge and the herd of Fallow Deer are sitting down in the cool shade of a tree.

This year the mix of warmth and rain has meant the wildflowers have been splendid ... 

 Elderflowers in my garden

Foxgloves in my garden

 A wild rose photographed on Suffolk Day (Midsummer Day)
along the Suffolk Coastal Heathlands Path at Bawdsey

The identification page continues the theme of trees that began with twigs in the January chapter, with leaves.

Revisiting my photographs for my blog in January, the fields were green with the young shoots of Winter sown Barley

Six months later the Barley is fully grown and beginning to ripen, the fields undulate and swish like the waves of the sea.

I've been spending some time sketching, bright sunlight on the Barley fields make them shine a with a colour between yellow ochre and sap green. The trees and hedges marking out the boundaries of the fields and the course of the Stour Brook in the shallow valley filled with Barley fields.


  1. I finally got a copy of the Almanac last month and I love it (although I did have to giggle at the January entry that talks about planting; if I was to try to plant anything here in Ottawa in January I would need a snow plough, a backhoe, and some kind of industrial blow torch to warm up the soil :) ) Rhiannon is home this weekend and she spotted the book and was enchanted by the concept, her favourite bits are the illustrations and the recipes - the girl loves to cook :)


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