Hello, and thanks for visiting my garden journal – a place for recording my gardening activity and tracking moments in gardens. This week I recall positively glowing border flowers, I’ve been sniffing and snapping at Rousham, and I discuss mood and moments in observations.
There have been some ridiculously warm days over the last few weeks but since the full moon last weekend, hasn’t it all balanced out? It was all blazing sun and head-cooking workdays one moment, but then the weather turned and showers and storms seem to have become the norm for a while. Honestly, this year’s weather has been a real lottery!
I’m delighted to record that after watching BBC Gardeners’ World on my screens for what seems like an eternity, I finally made it onto the screen myself! Okay, it was a video I’d sent in about me and my garden but still – I’m very chuffed for my clip to have been selected, and I’ll be walking around with a rosy glow on my cheeks for the weekend at least!
I’ve written in my journal before about how the pandemic impacted my gardening world, in as much that whilst enduring the first lockdown I was fortunate to be able to continue working. I say fortunate because I live for working with, in and around gardens, and to think of having to stay indoors, or to have been restricted to a small space would likely, well, I can’t even begin to think.
And just like that it’s journal time, and as for last Sunday’s entry the weather has again brought huge change to my gardening week. It’s as if Mother Nature popped in on Thursday, waved a magic wand and said “let there be sunshine!”
It really does feel like spring has sprung if I’m honest but, (and there’s always a but) from a gardening perspective I wouldn’t get too used to these temperatures for they may very well be short lived. I’m certainly not wanting to pour water on these beautiful days though as they are so welcome, if only to prove to me that the growing season is actually happening – so I may just have to crawl out from under my rock and get used to it!
I was dazzled in the garden yesterday, and not for the first time by a patch of moss. This patch was part of a larger one growing very happily on the lower part of a tree trunk sheltered by hedges. The patch was soft but tough, rooted firmly to its spot and wrapped tightly around the west face of the tree – a shadier space in the garden could scarcely be found.
Its brightness captured my eyes for a while, shining as it was on a dull February day. One of those days when the sun only occasionally appeared, and only then like torchlight through the fog.
Week five into my 2021 Gardening Ways journal and even though we’re seeing wintry pictures from around Britain it seems like we’re picking up pace towards spring – and it’s never been more eagerly awaited. I do say this with a hint of restraint however, as whilst day length continues to draw out, the ever fluctuating temperatures will continue to tease and excite us one moment, only to nip us in the bud the next. It’s best to take things steady, to enjoy the moment and not to get too far ahead of ourselves.
Focussing on the here and now for a moment, all seems calm and steady in my home garden. Tasks remain thin on the ground but included, over two sessions some much needed path cleaning – oh the delights of an algae-loving north facing garden! This was mostly a case of scrubbing with soapy water which brought out the honey colouring a treat. Otherwise, a good sort through my containers was in order and these were rearranged with soon-to-flower pots brought to the fore so that we can watch their progress daily from the kitchen windows.
Something that lifted my winter spirits earlier in the week was a handful of Iris reticulata flowers that opened with an intensity presently lacking elsewhere in the garden, apart from a Viburnum x bodnantense maybe that is peppered with clusters of sweet scented pink flowers.
I was reminded after a quick look in my ‘Plant Names Simplified’ book that the Iris name is of Greek origin, it reads: “Iris, a rainbow, presumably in reference to the many colours of the flowers”. Their flowers are varied too, not just across the cultivars but on each flower itself – a deep blue, almost violet colour contrasted with a flash of bright yellow – they may be small but they’re certainly not going to be overlooked!
Well there goes week four and after a brief walk out this afternoon, January is pretty much done and dusted. (And on the whole – good riddance to it!) I must admit that I had worked three paragraphs into this journal post before I realised, just in time, that I was spiralling into a cracked and bottomless pot of despair. To that end I deleted said words after getting them out of my system, and for the next few minutes I’m promising my usually positive post about my week in gardening.
This week has moved from a beautiful and not too deep covering of snow on Monday, through grey washed out days with enough sunshine between to keep the spirits up. The underlying issue, if there has to be one has been the quantity of rain, which has been frequent and persistent. As a result of said rain the ground all around is at full capacity, and beds and borders are too wet to touch.
OK, so there goes week two, another unbalancing week in my world of gardening – and life in general come to that.
Last weekend brought much reflection on the ever developing Covid and work situation, and by Monday morning I was resigned to the fact that some things would need further tightening. Indeed, within an hour of the week getting underway, conversations were taking place that encouraged a decision to officially pause volunteering. Now, whilst this brought some comfort for all involved, it obviously meant a lack of gardening activity for some time ahead – for a team that was already limited in number to maintain social distancing.
A check in gardening activity, even as challenging as it is to the constant flow of seasonal tasks; is something that can be won back over the months ahead. It might not be easy, or desirable, but it’s perfectly achievable if we adapt, manage our expectations and keep a close eye on priorities. Possibly more important though is the resulting pause to the social interaction for all garden team members – including the assistant gardener and myself with a new furlough arrangement going into place.
Garden blogging – what’s it all about eh? Why do I invest good money in a WordPress blog site, only to invest more valuable time in the creation and editing of articles? (Articles that generally get caught up in the tiniest corner of a loose outer strand of the World Wide Web anyway!)
It’s cathartic and therapeutic, that’s why. It gives me opportunity to ponder the incredibly diverse world of plants and gardens, to consider the never ending revelations, and it gives me a very personal and creative outlet. This I believe is more important than the ‘stats’ behind any blog, stats that I don’t make time to study and play to anyway.