I would have been delighted with this summer if it had been preceded by a soaking wet winter during which the groundwater levels were restored to normal after last year's drought. But, alas, it wasn't. I commented back in the spring that the appearance of leaves on the trees was being held back by lack of water, and this proved to be exactly the case - the leaves came on in a flush when it rained.
Since then we have had what I call 'just in time' rainfall, in that when the lack of water was starting to get serious we've had a welcome amount to nicely moisten the soil. But very often the rain has been followed quite quickly by a hot, very drying spell of weather, when the moist soil has been baked bone dry again. I have been digging at the bottom of my garden, and not only is the top surface like dust, the soil six inches to a foot down is rock hard dry clay. A nearby beech tree is showing signs of drought in that leaves on the topmost branches have gone brown and fallen off, and there are other trees nearby where the leaves are curled up and drooping. Around the car park of a local supermarket the leaves on several of the small trees (I think they might be hornbeam) planted to give some shade have gone completely brown and dead - which means the trees have likely died themselves.
So I've been watering the garden since the middle of April, and by deducting my average household usage from the meter reading, I have worked out that I have used 8 cubic metres in doing this. Most of it has been put round my apple tree, without which I'm pretty certain it would have died - judging from the rate that leaves were falling off it like confetti in late June.
Of course, my observations are very much 'IMBG', and I fully recognise that other people in other parts of the country have had a very different time of it.
Angus; one of the Kent crew on TWO.
Tonbridge, 40m (131ft) asl