I spend all winter dreaming of my perfect garden. I put things in place to improve on last year. Mistakes were learnt from. I carefully selected seeds and dug sodden, cold dirt and carefully removed all trace of weed so this one would be the best season ever. The plants are planted with care and start to really get going and there is a hint of blush on the tomatoes, the peas are just beginning to ripen in quantities that can be processed and stored for the winter. The first cucumber and zucchini present themselves. All indications show it is going to be The Season – the one where everything has come together for good… The best season ever.
And then it happens. The madness begins. The hurly burly of Christmas shopping, wandering the streets for days looking for perfect gifts. The calendar fills up with a multitude of social engagements, almost more in December than all the other months combined – a lunch here, a dinner there, and the parties – oh the parties. Oh what fun is to ride on a one horse open sleigh… or late night taxi van with other revellers who are a little worse for wear? And not forgetting the baking and preparing of incredible amounts of food – it is all verging on the gluttonous – but only to be excused by the mere fact it is all absolutely delicious!
The poor garden doesn’t get a look in. The weather forecast is checked regularly – not to benefit the garden, but in the hopes there would be no rain or wind on the big day. Although rain is the gardens only chance of a descent thirst quenching watering. The weeds sneak in and begin to take a foothold and the lawn height begins to rise steadily. Zucchini slowly edge towards marrows unnoticed. But even if it is noticed there isn’t the time to do anything about it – the demands of the big day are much more pressing.
And then all of a sudden it is over in a sea of wrapping paper and button popping festive feasting. However the garden must wait some more as the holiday season has more in store. The obligatory holiday on the beach to ring in the New Year. An absence from the garden of up to ten more days!
Ten wonderful days, lying on the beach, reading as many books as can be read, acting like a tourist, visiting all the sites, so much swimming, and behaving like I don’t have a care in the world. But I do – the garden. In the back of my mind I worry about the garden – the first tomato would be red now – and probably a dozen or so others. The peas will be winding down – there will be a mountain of marrows, powdery mildew will have taken hold of the cucumbers. But I guiltily push all thoughts horticultural to a dark corner of my mind to be dealt with when I get back. Trying not to be concerned when the evitable rain storm races through to try and flush out those hardy folks holidaying in tents. How would the garden fair against the winds that accompanied the storm – would the corn still be standing?
And finally we wearily return home gladly, all holidayed out until next year and once the car is unloaded, mountains of washing has been done – I turn to the garden – breathe a sigh of relief that it is still there and think – ahh tomorrow I’ll get stuck in and sort it all out.
So tomorrow I shall haul out the mower and clear away a month’s worth of neglect, I shall tie in straggly tomatoes, seek out all marrows, begin to tackle the weeds and start the journey of restoring my garden on to the path of being The Best Season Ever!
Come again soon – normality will resume shortly
Sarah the Gardener : o )