Summer warms the soil all around. All hope, all work, now coalesces to a single point: the meristem. Nourishment passes along thick, pale rhyzomes sleeping in the earth – stores that could stay fresh through forty winters. Everything is ready for the push.
The pressure at the tip can rearrange earth, heave aside metal; fracture stone. Behind, construction work begins in earnest: the first tiny purple leaves unfold, stiffen, then green, and turn like hearts to catch the light. The race is on – on and up, twining against the course of the sun.
Stems elongate and curl, but never stiffen: why trouble with the costly complexities of Lignin when someone else nearby has done it for you? A bine twists around – embraces – loves a dupe.
A bine strangles the strong and overruns the weak – outgrows the sluggish and robs them of their light. Below the surface, unseen roots push into rivals, dissolving their matrix, stealing their supplies. Flesh, bone and metal may tear at the periphery but a bine will endure. There is no death. There is only growth – each day; each year.
There is no other way.
(Inspired by my constant struggle against bindweed on the allotment, and will likely feature in the next novel.)
On 31 May the weather changed from single figures (9 degC – that’s below 50 in old money) to something like the height of summer (mid-20s, also known as mid-70s). Also, the rain – practically a constant throughout May, stopped, without a by-your-leave.
The allotment, as a result, went completely berserk.
The Globe Artichokes (pale green frondy foliage in the centre of the picture) generally come up in November, sit-out the winter in a sort of low-profile state and then carry on growing from about April. This year they sat tight till 31 May. The chard (foreground) had looked to all intents and purposes dead until about the same date. Now we can’t eat it fast enough.
Broad beans have burst into bloom (that’s enough B’s) overnight. Again, I thought the rain would beat them down into a mush before they had a chance to grow.
Note the bindweed making an appearance in the lower left: we have to start digging that up as soon as it shows – sadly I don’t think we’ll ever be able to get rid of the matrix of white tubular roots that undergird our plot – we just have to plant things that can outgrow it!
Rhubarb is artistically translucent in the sunshine.
One thing that did manage to flourish in the rain was our little apple tree (‘Sunset’) – here it is from a couple of weeks ago.
The currants must have flowered, too, at some point – but perhaps just for the one sunny day of last month, and I blinked an missed it. At any rate, the bees seem to have done their stuff.
Talking of bees, ‘No-Mow May’ has finally become a thing, and people are beginning to leave roadside verges and other such places alone, so mid-spring flowers can bloom and bees don’t have to suffer a ‘hungry gap’ between the early bulbs and the summer flowers.