Well, it’s not that bad. I had been keeping an eye out for sloes ripening on the bushes, but a long time ago I came to the realisation that sloes are going to be hard to come by this year.
I reckon that it could be because of our incredibly late spring this year, when the blackthorn bushes only came into flower when the leaves came out – something I never saw before, as the flowers always come out well before the leaves. It seems to have been a poor season all round for the plum-type fruits, with wild damsons and bullaces hard to find as well. I have seen a few good crops of sloes, but all my secret special sloe places are bereft. Last year was a great crop and I had the wit to stick a bag in the freezer, so all is not lost.
There’s still quite a lot out there to forage
Rosehips did well, and most are still on the bush. At this time, they are getting a bit soft – perfect for picking and turning into syrup/wine/jelly.Sweet chestnuts have managed to produce edible nuts this year, although I have only found the central of the three chestnuts in each case filled out and useable. Still, although they are small and not very easy to collect (the squirrels and birds have taken most), they taste good.
At least there are some about – the last few years, I haven’t been able to find any chestnuts filled out. It’s the same with beech this year – some of the trees have viable nuts, but only a smallish proportion. Beech nuts are OK, but you’d want to be very hungry to peel enough for a meal.
Finally, most of the mushrooms are now over, but I found my first oyster mushroom of the season today, growing near the base of a large tree.
These could get quite a bit bigger, but I think I won’t wait as it is a public street and they’ll either get knocked off, picked by someone else or peed on by a dog.