It’s the longest day of the year on Friday, and the summer solstice is a good time to assess how well the trees and bushes have done during the growing season. As if in some druidical ritual-although not necessarily at dawn, or, indeed, wearing white robes-I make a close inspection to measure the extent of the fleshy green extensions to the woody twigs and compare the rates of progress of the different species. It’s quite a revelation.
The young limes have grown 18in in some cases, the weight of the new growth hanging down like the arms of a discarded marionette. Our ash trees have been spared the dieback affliction and the tops are spearing healthily towards the sky. The box and yew, often wrongly assumed to be slow growers, have bushed out like furry toys that have had a blow-dry.
Farmers have suffered because the wet spring prevented them from planting their crops, with production estimated to be down 30% for wheat, but the same dowsing has acted like a growth hormone on our sylvan population. The innocent verdant bobbles that are the first signs of the fruit on the apple and plum trees are biding their time among the leaves, but there’s no doubting the cornucopia that is lurking. The bees may be in shorter supply this year, but the reduced population appears to have worked overtime. I predict a riotous crop.
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