SEP 2009 | SEP 2008 | SEPTEMBER 2007

A few scattered and very short showers left us hoping that the autumn rains had come early, but sadly, in the east of the island, the dry weather returned. Even at higher altitudes the ground is baked dry and parched and very little seems to be managing to flower.

The dreadful fires of August have, however, abated and in Northern Greece there has been sufficient rain to prevent any further outbreaks.

The weather has stayed warm and, at times, very humid and the harvest of seeds and nuts seems to be a good one.

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Abelmoschus esculentus - known as ‘okra’ or ‘ladies fingers’, this beautiful flower can be found in cultivation in many parts of the island. Freshly picked the delicious seedpods bear no resemblance to the mushy dish I remember sampling in the UK many years ago.

Acer sempervirens - this very pretty tree is common in woodlands around Crete and, in Autumn, takes on a vibrant red/gold colouring. It is not, as might be thought from its Latin name, an evergreen.

Acorns - proof that the Cretan Prickly Oak is, indeed, an oak tree – it does bear acorns.

Astracantha cretica - a little earlier in the year I found this spikey bush in flower – but, of course, I did not have my camera with me. Since then I have tried to find a few straggling mauve flowers without any success. Maybe next year!

Autumn leaf - in the absence of flowers to photograph, I have turned my lens towards the colours of Autumn. This striking leaf is, I think, from the Acer – The Cretan maple – and offers a bold contrast to the surrounding vegetation.

Carlina gummifera - one of the very few plants in bloom on the Katharo at this time of the year, this Carlina attracts numerous visiting butterflies.

Carlina with butterfly - Carlina graeca is extremely common at lower altitudes. Easily overlooked because of its dull colouring, on closer inspection the flower heads are most attractive.

Charybdis maritium - the Sea Squill is found everywhere at this time of the year and is a reminder that the autumn rains can’t be far off. This year there seems to have been far more of this elegant flower spikes, or maybe it is just that there is very little else in bloom. Known as the ‘Dog Onion’, the huge bulbs of Charybdis maritium are distinctive at any time of the year.

Dog Onion - and here is the bulb of Charybdis maritimum, found at the side of a field which had been cultivated for growing crops.

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