It’s Official… it’s Summer – or is it ?


June the 1st.  The Meteorological Office tells us that it now officially summer. Well, it is a new month and in 21 days it will be the Summer Solstice….  another milestone in our seasonal calendar.

But is it really summer?  For much of the past 2 months it hasn’t felt much like spring. April we froze with record low temperatures for the month. Then we had May, which has been the wettest on record. As a result everything seems to be way behind its annual cycle.

Being more positive, I can confirm that we have had three days of sunny shine and blue skies with the thermometer rising to heights not seen this year.  There is a song that says ” June is Busting Out All Over “.

 I guess, that in a small way, our garden and local countryside is suddenly doing its best the break thru to Summer.


So taking a deep breath of fresh air, I do hope that we have indeed turned the corner.  A spring that was unusual to say the very least….  and now the thrill of 3 days of real sunshine, wooing us into thinking that summer is here, it gives us hope.

The natural world often recovers well and plays catch up…this year, in our continuing stressed human world we can only hope that we all do the same.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

1st June

(C) David Oakes 2021

Two Counties View


A rather fine late summers afternoon walk….great views over  some mellow countryside, all with a backdrop of Bunster Hill, to the left and Thorpe Cloud, to the right.  Hiding in the shadow of Thorpe Cloud is Dove Dale with the famous anglers River Dove flowing through.

The River Dove also marks the boundary between Staffordshire on the left and Derbyshire on the right. 

The only downside to the evening, is that the sky does indicate yet another change in the weather….more storms due.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

24th August

(C) David Oakes 2020



New and Old…… The Seasons move on


We have enjoyed the Snowdrops, the Daffodils are in full bloom, Crocus are bursting into life and the first green shoots of the Bluebells to come are starting to show.  But for me the first real sign that Spring is really on the way is when the over wintering buds on the trees start to burst….

Pussy Willow and Catkins (these on a twisted Hazel) are a very welcome sign of the approaching Spring….

Skimmia Japonica has a mass of flower heads and the Camelia Buds are swelling and nearly ready to burst….

 In a darker corner of the garden a genuine little gem, the minute flower heads of our Quince Japonica…. all the more valuable as they are displayed on the most miserable of twigs….


and in another dark corner the Ivy continues to weave its way through whatever is in its way….


New life in woods and garden but on the younger Beech trees the fight continues, as they doggedly hold onto their autumnal leaves adding a rich glow.  I am told that these leaves are protecting the new buds, which when they are ready to burst will push off the old leaves…job done.

We still have a week to go before the Spring Equinox on the 19th March but the signs are promising.


12th March

(C) David Oakes 2020

Sunny Start to September……


The first week of September has given us some fabulous sunny mornings… perfect for Golf lovers to get their rounds in whilst its quiet.

In the woods the shadows are longer as the sun sinks lower in its axis.  The canopy is also starting to thin allowing this autumnal sun to reach those parts that have been so shady across the summer.


Berries are ripening, seeds are setting, petals dropping yet still Summer teases us.

The truth that the seasons are on the move comes towards the end of the day when those longer shadows and a bright evening sun, give the garden an ‘evening look’ long before the sun vanishes for the day….   and the temperatures make a marked drop


Yep…not a bad start to September, OK we did get the odd shower but perhaps that was much needed.

We should of course  think of those caught in the dreadful and very tragic weather conditions that have struck the Bahamas.  Hurricane Dorian now continues northwards up the coast of North America reeking even more destruction.  A reminder that none of us are in control of our own destinies.

7th September

(C) David Oakes 2019