For some reason this season has been like a problem child, kicking its heels as it staggers along slowly, not really paying attention to where it is going and wilfully ignoring the grown up gardener hand trying to urge it along to get to the destination where we can all sit down and have ice cream, or in my case tomatoes!
I really don’t know what happened. One moment I was organised and in control and set to have the smoothest growing season and now I am two weeks after the safe planting out day and I have only just planted the last of my main crops into the garden. Even then it was done in between showers on a rather unpleasant day. And now I have finished the weather mocks me with a lovely sunny day.
There are three main culprits to this delay. The first one is the weather. It has been horrible. Not as bad as in previous seasons when there has been storm after storm not allowing young seedlings to recover before the next, and then toppling them in a heap of horticultural weakness. But it has been so variable. One moment, warm blue sky days that seem like they will never end, only to wake up to grey rainy days so dismal you can’t possibly imagine how they could be anything else.
Ordinarily this isn’t too much of a problem when you can trust the weather forecast and plan for the indoor computer gardening days. But trusting the weather forecast hasn’t proven to be all that reliable lately so you take it with a pinch of salt and hope for the best. And computer gardening, while I love it, has become out of sync with the weather and sunny days have been spent flourishing words not plants and horrible days have been spent staring out the window with regret.
But even these two things on their own could have been managed and negotiated and at the very least I would have only been a couple of days late getting the garden done. But the third reason could be considered the straw that broke the camel’s back, but that straw is loveable and holds no regrets whatsoever. The camel will recover.
The straw is celebration and if any year needs more than its fair share, this is it! I may have mentioned before that October is birthday month and is nonstop celebrating – and that is just for my birthday. Other family members also have birthdays and so the revelling is abundant. But then just sneaking into the beginning of this month is our wedding anniversary and while that doesn’t have an ‘0’ in it, we had flight credits that just called to be used so we headed down to Queenstown for a long weekend.
As much as the garden didn’t need me to take this break, I needed to take this break and it was marvellous. The untrustworthy boffins said it would be cold and miserable with rain and even the possibility of snow! I packed warm. However, they couldn’t have got it more wrong and we were treated to magnificent blue sky days with temperatures that sent me off shopping for summer clothes. Conditions were so perfect people were sunbathing on the lakefront and even swimming!
Now you can’t possibly go to a new destination and not check out their gardens, it would be rude not to. So, the first stop was to the Queenstown Gardens Trail and we were not disappointed. It is such a stunning location, and the peonies were just bursting into bloom. I have fallen in love with these, but it would be an ill-fated relationship as it is just too warm to grow them here. To keep them captive in a vase just seems wrong, I would hate to watch such beautiful creatures wither away.
We also enjoyed great food with every meal, visited vineyards for wine tasting and even did a moonshine tasting at a wonderful restaurant and I now have a love of apple pie moonshine and pinot gris on a sunny day. We walked for miles and had a fabulous break. On the last day away the boffin’s predictions finally caught up with us and there was a dusting of snow on the hills and I got to don my winter woollies for a few hours before catching the plane back home. It was a trip to remember and now I can focus on the garden.
Come again soon – I’ll bring you up to date with the garden goings on.
Sarah the Gardener : o)