To go away, that is; there are lots of good times, generally…
I thought I’d be safe. One week away – well, and a couple of days – and nothing much would happen in the garden. I could leave it in safe hands; they wouldn’t have too much to do at this time of year. You know: a bit of light watering, keeping an eye on things, no need to harvest anything.
But we appear to have had summer while I was away (I was in Shetland; summer doesn’t happen there till later). Even getting down the kitchen path to the door was interesting; the rose suckers looping and dropping and hitting me in the face. They weren’t there a week ago.
The rose is pretty though; I had to admit that, even as I attacked it with the secateurs before doing anything else. It’s important to be able to reach the door without losing an eye, I feel.
Roses don’t do particularly well with me, so I’m delighted when this hedge flowers. The scent is fab, and you can’t miss it as it runs beside the path to the kitchen door (but at least now you don’t run the risk of injury).
The rest of the garden is equally lush; quite a shock, coming from Shetland. I did wonder whether it was just that, whether I only thought it had gone mad because I’d been somewhere so completely different, but it isn’t. There was no sign of these blue geraniums flowering before I went away, for example, and the red valerian had only just started:
All the ferns are enormous – even the ones that aren’t really supposed to be – and the Portugal Laurel is finally justifying its existence as something other than a windbreak.
I can forgive it quite a lot when it’s this time of year, even the acres of shadowy gloom beneath it. At least the ferns like that, and I have hopes for a couple of astilbes, too.
I was very nervous about the veg, having seen what had happened elsewhere. My friends had warned me about the greenhouse. I’d removed some of the shading during the last month of overcast and rain; silly me, why didn’t it occur to me that there could be a heatwave? But they did a great job, and there don’t seem to have been any casualties.
This Black Russian was in the line of fire, as it were, and is only slightly frazzled. They must have been watering like mad – I’m very, very grateful. My tom crop last year was terrible (I had some duff compost), and thanks to them, this year looks as though it will be a good one. On the other hand, the Arctic blasts in May have almost literally decimated the climbing beans, and I’m going to have to replant some. I’m hoping it won’t be too late… but the broad beans are thriving. They’ve benefitted from being next to the windbreak.
And the weeds! The weeds! I can hardly see the onions, and the shallots are almost as bad. If it’s not volunteer spuds, it’s couch grass; if it’s not couch grass, it’s bittercress, shepherd’s purse, scarlet pimpernel and heaven only knows what else. I don’t care about root disturbance (well, I do care a bit), but those onions are getting weeded.
Of course, having the meadow next door doesn’t entirely help. But the meadow is wonderful, and I can forgive it any – er – overflowing when it looks like this:
It’s getting into its stride now. The really unruly part – behind the apple trees – has been strimmed, the rosa rugosa suckers are under control, and we’ve been hurling bracken over the wall into the wildy bit for ages (it comes from there; it can go back). There are more clumps of ox eye daisies; they do move about, though they also seem to be spreading at last.
But the very best thing I came back to was this.
The heath spotted orchids are out. Hooray!