Due to circumstances beyond my control…

I spend all year with great expectations about how wonderful my garden is going to be, and what improvements I’ll make and what I’ll do with the produce and how it’s just all going to be perfect.  And it should be – I put in a lot of planning and hard work.

But our summer is in the worst part of the year for the keen gardener.  It has Christmas, New Year and summer holidays smack bang in the middle of it.

Instead of spending the summer whiling  away the long balmy days tending to the crop and harvesting as things ripen and seeing to the gardens every whim – the week or so preceding Christmas is filled with manic shopping, decorating, baking and a hectic schedule of social engagements.  The garden is lucky if it gets water lobbed at it as I whiz past onto some exciting seasonal party.  Merry Christmas!

"Thank you Santa"

The week between Christmas and New Year is spent on quality time with family, digesting and recovering from the excesses of the Christmas feasting and preparing for the annual holiday.  The garden only receives a cursory glance, which induces feelings of extreme guilt as three weeks of neglect is starting to become evident.  Happy New Year!

You should see how lovely it is when the sun is shining!

Then its ten days at the beach without anything to do but relax.  There isn’t even any gardens to remind me of the ever increasing workload gathering momentum in my absence.  It’s a shame it rained most of the time, but at least we weren’t in a tent.  Apparently the holiday period was the wettest since some record or other was recorded.  Happy days!

On arriving home from our summer holiday, I would like to say tending to the poor neglected garden would be the first thing on the list of TO DO’s for the New Year – but alas no…  Unpacking, sorting out, taking the Christmas tree down and un-decorating and dealing to the mountain of holiday laundry takes priority.  Finally I get to the end of a colossal amount of chores and think – ah tomorrow I’ll turn my attention to the garden and wake up, to the first beautiful day in ages, with a tummy bug!

Not a bad haul - all things considered

So today in a state of semi-recovery I drag myself out there to do a spot of well overdue harvesting.  I managed to gather:  too many too large gherkins, 14 cucumbers, a basket of almost ripe tomatoes (to get them before the birds do) some peas, four large cauliflowers, a handful of black currants.  There is probably more out there – I was too afraid to see what the zukes had done! But I started to feel peaky again and crawled back into bed.

To compound all of this neglect, we are having the wettest summer.  The ground is as wet and soggy as it was in early spring.  This doesn’t bode well for my plants.  They should be dry and reaching for the sun, not being a soggy mess attracting every passing fungal spore!

This isn't supposed to happen in the summer!

So here I am in the height of the growing season.  What I wait for and plan for all year is HERE AND NOW – yet I am restless – thanks to the holidays and the appalling weather the garden isn’t the lush, well organised paradise of vegetable production I was hoping for – it’s damp, soggy, overgrown, untrained, and bordering on feral!  So my thoughts are already drifting towards next year – how it will be oh so perfect – and it will be because I will have put in a whole lot of planning and hard work in.

The cucumbers and melons are unruly and soggy

You can hardly see the tomatoes for the overgrown grass

The peas have been blown over

Goodness only knows what monsters are growing in here!

On the up side I managed to harvest the garlic (90 mostly decent sized bulbs) and an average crop of onions!

Come again soon as I attempt to tame and reclaim some of the joys of summer gardening!

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

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