View from the Rear Window - July 2023

 "July 2023 confirmed as hottest month on record" - World Meteorological Organisation

"If I had my way, I'd remove January from the calendar altogether and have an extra July instead" - Roald Dahl

After a hot June in Hereford, July was a little disappointing - cool, wet and cloudy. Globally, July 2023 was the hottest on record with severe heatwaves recorded in southern Europe, North Africa, Russia, China, Japan, southern USA, and Canada plus lots of wildfires.

The rear garden benefitted from plenty of rain which thankfully reduced the need for hand watering the plants, vegetables and fruit - a huge change from the weather conditions of last July.

The next three photos show the rear garden on the 1st, 23rd and 30th July. The buddleia was in full bloom at the start of the month, attracting the odd butterfly, and mostly finished by the end of the month. Photos 2 & 3 feature some additional wildlife (2 x collared doves and Mary).

Photo 1: Back Garden (August 1st 2023) 

Photo 2: Back Garden (August 23rd 2023)

Photo 3: Unusual Wildlife in the Back Garden (August 30th 2023)

A time-lapse slideshow of July's daily photos is presented in Video 1.

Video 1: Daily Garden Photos (July 2023)

Summary of Weather Parameters for July 2023

Cooling and Heating Degree Days have been added to the list. Sunshine hours are estimated from average daily solar radiation values measured by the Davis weather station. A list of average and total weather parameters is given in Table 1.

Maximum daily temperatures in July 2023 did not exceed 30 ℃ in contrast to the previous 3 years (2020, 2021, 2022). Weather was fairly settled throughout the month - the right sort of weather for the garden with sufficient rain and cool/warm temperatures. Certainly, my next-door neighbour was cutting her lawn more frequently! However, sunbathing weather it was most certainly not. 

Table 1: Average/Total Weather Statistics for July 2023

July 2023

Weather Parameter



Average Monthly Temperature 

17 oC

Maximum Monthly Temperature

29 oC


Minimum Monthly Temperature

7 oC


Number of Air Frost Days


Number of Hot Days (> 25 oC)


Monthly Precipitation

55.4 mm

Greatest 24 h Precipitation

9.6 mm

13th - 14th

Number of Dry Days


Monthly Sunshine Hours (estimated)


Average Wind Speed

3 km/h

Highest Wind Speed

40 km/h

1st & 9th

Maximum Barometric Pressure (Sea Level)

1020.5 hPa


Minimum Barometric Pressure (Sea Level)

994.5 hPa


Average Barometric Pressure (Sea Level)

1009.7 hPa

Heating Degree Days


Cooling Degree Days


Figures 1 & 2 present the daily temperature, rainfall and sunshine hours for July 2023. Generally, pleasantly warm during the day (only 4 days failed to reach 20 ℃ maximum) but the evenings and nights were on the cool side. Rain was distributed fairly evenly throughout the month and there were no sustained sunny periods due to the presence of clouds on most days.

Figure 1: Daily Min/Max Temperatures (July 2023)

Figure 2: Rainfall & Sunshine Data (July 2023)

Figures 3 & 4 compare this July's weather with previous July months (2020-2022). July 2023 was cooler than normal, but not exceptionally so, due to much lower maximum daily temperatures (Figure 1). Rainfall can be variable in July (Figure 4) but was plentiful in 2023 concomitant with reduced sunshine hours and fewer dry days.

Figure 3: July Temperature Data for the Period 2020 - 2023

Figure 4: Sun, Wind & Rain Data for July over the Period 2020 - 2023

The UK Met Office's weather report for July can be found here and is summarised thus: "July was an unsettled month - often cool, dull, windy and with a lot of rainfall, in stark contrast to June". This was down to the position of the jet stream to the south of the UK throughout July preventing warm air from Europe from reaching the UK.

Figure 5 summarises the mean UK temperatures for July 2023 with Herefordshire highlighted. Compared with the 1991 - 2020 average, Herefordshire was about 1 ℃ cooler than expected. July is usually the warmest month in Herefordshire but was surpassed in 2023 by June

Figure 5: UK Mean Temperature Anomalies for July 2023 (Met Office)

Figure 6 shows the relative rainfall for the UK with Herefordshire circled; precipitation was about 150% higher than the 1991-2020 average. The nearest Met Office weather station at Credenhill, a few miles down the road, records an average July precipitation value of 48.54 mm. My Davis weather station recorded a value of 55.4 mm (Table 1), an increase of only 14% above the average, though I suspect my station is in a bit of a rain shadow due to its urban location.

Figure 6: Relative UK Rainfall, July 2023 (Met Office)

UK sunshine hours distribution is presented in Figure 7 showing Herefordshire received only about 70% of its expected July sunshine. Relative to 2020-2022, July 2023 had only about 85% of its expected sunshine.

Figure 7: Relative Sunshine Hours for July 2023 (Met Office) 

Jobs in the Garden
  • Harvesting raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, French beans, cucumbers, courgettes, new potatoes, onions, celery, snap peas, salad leaves
  • Summer pruning of fruit trees - apples, plums, pears
  • Plant out brassicas (calabrese, cauliflower, red cabbage) and broad beans
  • Watering (from water butts), composting, weeding, mulching, etc
Flora and Fauna
  • 4 x Blackbirds (male, female plus 2 x young)
Photo 4: Blackbird parents and two juveniles
  • 3 x Blue Tits (2 x adults plus 1 x young)
  • 3 x Collared Dove (2 x adults plus 1 x young)
  • 4 x Crows (2 x adults plus 2 x young)
  • 1 x Great Tit
  • 22 x House Sparrows
  • 1 x Magpie
  • 15 x Starlings
Video 2: Juvenile Starling on Bird Feeder
  • 2 x Swifts
  • 3 x Wood Pigeon (2 x adults plus 1 x young)
Photo 5: Wood Pigeon Parents with Young
  • 2 x Gatekeeper Butterflies
Video 3: Slo-mo Gatekeepers
  • Lots of Small and Large White Butterflies
  • 1 x Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly
  • 1 x Speckled Wood Butterfly
  • 1 x Holly Blue Butterfly
Photo 6: Holly Blue Butterfly
  • 1 x Red Admiral Butterfly
Photo 7: Red Admiral Butterfly
  • Green-veined White Butterfly
Photo 8: Gree-veined White Butterfly

And, finally, a few photos from the garden:

Photo 9: Rev Wilks Apples

Photo 10: Hydrangea Flower

Photo 11: Medlar Fruit

Photo 12: Sunflower

Photo 13: Festival Squash Flower

Photo 14: Dahlias

Photo 15: Flower Mixture

Photo 16: Looking Down the Secret Garden

Photo 17: Dahlia


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