Monday, 27 May 2013

Rain Stopped Play

As so often happens, the weather comes along and interrupts all gardening.  This is the rain I woke up to on the Spring Bank Holiday Monday morning, the day that is supposed to be the BIG start to summer gardening.  Bad weather and Ben Hur on television are two things you can guarantee on a Bank Holiday! Would you want to go out gardening in this?

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I didn't think so.  Did you see the driving rain falling at quite an angle?  Did you hear the wind blowing, and the rain beating against the window?  The winds were about twenty mph, not very pleasant weather for anything really other than ducks and staying indoors.

This kind of weather makes me think about my forebears who didn't have a choice in the matter.  If they were lucky enough to have a small garden they relied on it for food having to go out in all conditions just to survive.  In the winter months, this might mean a very basic diet of potatoes, parsnips, carrots, leeks, onions, and cabbage supplemented with maybe a pig and chickens kept in the same garden, and what they could forage from the land. No luxury of a pretty flower garden and neatly manicured lawns for them, or a supermarket with wide choices of fruit and vegetables from all over the world for them.  I like to grow my own fruit and vegetables because I like to know what I am eating, the provenance of my food, and that is a luxury by the standards of bygone days.

Did you see the yew tree?  I used it as my backdrop to the raindrops.  It arrived in my garden unannounced, a gift from a bird that dropped a seed that liked where it was and so it grew.  The only thing is, it is now getting a bit on the big side for my garden.  I have already cut out the central growing tip, a few years back, but it is starting to get wider and wider with each growing season . . see all the new season's growth, the little tips of dark orange?  Those are the new growth.  I think that very soon I must pick a shape and topiarise it.  I am not a huge fan of topiary, but there is little else I feel I can do with this gift from the birds, other than let it take over!  I think a free form 'gum drop' like those at Powis Castle might work the best.  If you look at the link you should see their gum drops lined up in front of the castle.  They aren't too formal but the trees are kept in check just enough to stop them from taking over.  I have special affection for Powis Castle because my Dad was a gamekeeper there, in the days before the National Trust acquired the property.

Rain or no rain, I could not resist (when the rain did stop mid~afternoon) getting out to take some photographs.  After the rain, everything looks so clean and refreshed, cobwebs blown, and dust washed, away.  Colours look brighter and sharper, so out I went and took these.

Gentle Reader, I am so happy to tell you that the apple blossom did not suffer anywhere as near as badly as I feared. I fuss and worry like a mother hen over her chicks!  Here is a short video of how the ground looks under the tree.  It is very pretty, I think, like a fluffy blanket of big snowflakes!

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Then, I gave a shriek of delight to see the raspberry canes full of tiny clusters of flower buds, and future berries.  Raspberries are one of my favourite summer fruits, and I have four varieties with staggered fruiting times to prolong the fruiting season.  Few things are better than going out in the early morning to pick a small handful of fresh, sun~ripened berries from your own garden to put on top of your granola and home~made organic yogurt for breakfast.  Later there will be jam bubbling in the preserving pan for a memory of summery deliciousness in the depth of winter too.


In the days of the great garden landscape architects, like Lancelot "Capability" Brown it was common practice to make the outlying countryside appear as if part of the garden, bringing wild nature in with the tamed landscapes by use of such techniques as a "ha ha".  In a similar way I borrow my neighbour's overhanging trees, bringing a lovely, bright, acid green to my garden, lifting the colours along the boundary wall, making my garden look bigger and lighter than it is.  This is one of those plants, a beautiful tree indeed.


One tree I would rather not have anywhere near my property is the seemingly omnipresent native sycamore tree which overhangs my drive, dropping leaves in Autumn, and so many days are spent raking and bagging them up to become rich and useful leaf mould, and prevent the leaves ruining the surface of the drive.  The other thing are the sycamore 'helicopters' or ripe seed heads, that twirl their way on the wind.  This year alone, I have dug up no fewer than eight established saplings of around two foot high that somehow escaped earlier detection (they lurked in amongst my blackcurrants) and countless hundreds of tiny, freshly germinated seedlings.  I know there will be countless many more, just look at the seeds on this small branch . . and there are three or four fully grown trees full of them!


However, it is all worth it in the end.  Even at this early stage in the season, while the battle against the weather goes on, I am very happy indeed with how these simple pots are looking.  The greenery is fresh and pretty, and the few splashes of colour brighten the front of my cottage.  I am so looking forward to seeing them grow and develop into a riot of colour as the patio roses, Oriental lilies, precious pansies, fragrant dianthus, and other plants bloom and open before our very eyes.  See my red dragon, sleeping in their midst?


I will leave you on this note.  It is only a day or two since I potted up those healthy foxglove plants, do you recall?  Well, is it my imagination, or are they already looking very much happier and quite a bit bigger than they did two days ago? 

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4 comments:

  1. Ah...the weather! How it runs our lives,eh?! What can we do but dance at it's bidding.

    Love the pots! Can't wait to see them filled out and gorgeous. Love the dragon! What a great jot of color and how fun! Darlene

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    1. Just dance like no one is watching! I waited years since first seeing that dragon to being able to secure one of my own!

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  2. I love your rain video and the links you put in. Your Blog is a labor of love as is your lovely garden. I look forward to seeing it through the seasons!

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    1. Hello and Welcome Cathy! Thank you for following me. This is a long haul project, so welcome aboard!

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Thank you for stopping by today ~ I love reading your comments