Gardening in the rain
Friday 29th June 2012
This ‘summer’ I have as usual been schlepping large bags of my garden to the tip. But I fancy a bit less than usual because the weather has been so difficult. I am more at peace with the garden than in the past two or three years. I think this is because I am applying my self-imposed rule: two hours of work OR two bags of gardening waste and then I stop. Because of this, which I more or less stick to, I get less tired but I garden much more often – most days rather than maybe on two very fraught, long and exhausting days.
On Wednesday I harvested the garlic. Much earlier than usual but it was rotting off so I had to get it out. Worst crop I have ever had. It went in before Christmas, as usual, but there were few frosts, which it likes. Then we had a mild, dry winter and hot dry March. This is when it would like some rain. April – June has been wet and cold, just when it would like some sunshine and heat.
The loganberries are rotting on the plants – a bumper crop but they can’t ripen properly. The rhubarb is OK but I don’t like rhubarb so I will be giving it all away. Pop in if you want some.
However, some lovely things are happening. For one thing I have done some gardening in the rain. After I dug up, washed and stored the garlic it started to rain, but quite gently. So I stuck to the parts of the garden where there is a bit of overhead shelter and had a lovely hour, dead-heading and pruning mainly. Then it stopped and I took some pictures. Here is the mulberry, with it’s alien-like tiny berries, still green:
And here is my favourite little pot, succulents all sparkly with the rain. I grew these by just sticking left-over bits from a big sink of succulents I have by the pond into the sandy loam I had put in this shallow dish:
Two of my favourite plants are alliums and foxgloves. The foxgloves don’t mind the cool darker summer we are having but they took a beating from the storms and high winds so I was pleased to see that this foxglove had stumbled upon a helpful allium and stayed there, for support:
The alliums always cheer me up:
Just starting to show their emerald-button seed pods as the flowers gently fade. Soon they will be puff-balls of spiky seeds, all bleached and starry.
Here is my ever-hopeful agapanthus, a flower stem trying to burst forth, but this is taking for ever because it is so cold. Like the garlic, this is the worst year I have had for agapanthus, which I have grown really successfully in several huge pots by the kitchen window where is does get hot, for many years. This year, I have very few flower spikes and those I do have are struggling:
This poppy (of which I am very proud for I grew these plants from seed and I think oriental poppy is a very difficult plant to germinate from bought seed and indeed the seed of any you buy or grow yourself are sterile) has been lovely, not minding the dull days and being sheltered by some other tall plants, has survived the storms. I love that it is holding onto it’s spiky/furry bud-leaf:
And finally, some plants that reflect my love of the darker shades, such as my ill-fated black petunias, AKA slug-snack-bar. I do like dark or copper foliage and also darker blooms. There is a lovely oriental poppy called Patties Plum that I did have but has now died. However, take a look at this black elder. It has dark chocolate coloured leaves, deeply cut and delicate, and then produces flat plates of palest pink blossoms that just look amazing:
And last of all, my best black lily. Deep, dark flowers, and red stems, off-set by the fresh green leaves, edged with a dark red border. Perfect: