I will happily close the door on this spring. It has been challenging in more ways than one with its wild and tempestuous ways. Each August I begin to anticipate a ‘calendar perfect’ kind of spring, you know the type – each month is represented with photos of lambs, daffodils, gentle rain and perfect tulips. There is no hint to the wild weather that leave tulips looking like they’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards – turning up to the party with their hair all askew and missing a shoe, daffodils with chunks missing because it was so damp the slugs had a field day and the gentle rain? That is a myth. Most of the rain comes lashing down and more often than not accompanied by howling wind. The lambs are still cute, although not so much when you are out there in the cold, dark, miserable weather bottle feeding them, or when they escape through the fence and make a bee line for the garden.
But I can be grateful as the seedlings, safe in the security of the greenhouse do what seedlings do and emerge from the soil (well most of them) and stretch forth towards the light, filling the greenhouse to capacity. Within those tiny, tender green leaves holds the hope of a harvest and this is the kind of hope that has the gardener pushing through and even digging in the rain. Well maybe that was just me in a moment of madness as I raced against time to get the garden ready.
I needn’t have rushed though, for the second season in a row, spring has been about 4 – 6 weeks late by what is considered normal. Normally we are recommended to plant our garden near the end of October, and yet it has been too cold. So I am happy to wait with my seeds and seedlings until it seems safe. I don’t want to risk all I have grown for a set date on a calendar. I need to be sensible about these things. So I waited and waited and waited. Then I began to doubt myself – was I waiting too long? Then just as I thought I was going crazy a cold snap would race through, having me reach for socks and warm jumpers. The thing I need to decide going forward – is the delay in the season an anomaly or start of a pattern for all springs going forward? Should I adjust my seed starting date to suit, to avoid large plants sitting around waiting growing root bound by the day?
It is good to look back and ponder these things as a season draws to a close, and ask yourself how could I have done things better? Then write it down somewhere that will be obvious to your future self in late winter anticipating that perfect spring.
But for now I’m putting spring behind me and looking forward to summer. It will be grand. There will be endless blue skies, picnics on the beach and perfectly formed fruit and veggies, ripe for the picking by perfect children with sun kissed noses and fabulous wicker baskets…. Just like in the calendar.
Come again soon – we are starting see the harvest.
Sarah the Gardener : o )