It seems that my feelings towards the garden have changed somewhat. From feelings of hope, optimism and wonder to mild panic with a sprinkling of denial. So what happened? A holiday happened, that’s what. A brilliant holiday, don’t get me wrong, but in the short week that the garden was left to its own devices it went mad. I have basically lost what modicum of control that I thought I had.
Firstly, I feel the hollyhocks have let me down. Well, they’ve let themselves down, really. Down all over the front path to be trampled underfoot by the constant stream of amazon delivery drivers. They have transformed themselves from the majestic and proud, 7 foot beasts, reaching for the sky that I was all set to be proud of, into an embarrassment. Rather like your mad aunty at a family wedding who drinks too much and starts careering about drunkenly. I just don’t understand it. I thought this year was going to be different as it was their second season, but no. No-one else’s seem to do this as far as I have observed. I have seen better examples growing in the central reservation of the A303. Why??
So what else? The nasturtiums that were once doing so well that I was panicking about them engulfing the beans, have been reduced to a sad looking mess by blackfly. Although that was the point of them, I am saddened by their total destruction as I do actually quite like a nasturtium. I also feel a tiny bit responsible that I sent them to their death. The beans are doing well though. Although they appear to be French beans rather than runners as advertised on the packet. I am not taking responsibility for this error. This cannot possibly be down to my dodgy labeling as I only planted one type of bean, so this one is on the seed producer. Makes me wonder if all the other seed mix ups haven’t been entirely my fault….
The Buddleia that I was so pleased with last time has ‘gone over’ and is now just a mass of brown seed heads. I did contemplate dead-heading it to encourage it to flower a second time but the birds are enjoying the seeds so much I have decided to leave it. I think conditions just got too dry for it.
The courgette plants have gone wild and are producing more courgettes than I know what to do with. I am harvesting 10-15 most days and coming up with all manner of ways to sneak them into meals without anyone noticing. Fortunately the neighbours are being very accommodating and taking a lot of them but I wonder how long it is before they start groaning as I approach laden with courgettes. I have stopped watering and feeding them in an attempt to slow down production.
Finally, there are weeds. SO MANY OF THEM. Thanks to the well needed day of rain there was while we were away. This is where the denial element of my mood comes in. I am currently ignoring this problem. My excuse is that I am waiting for them to get bigger so that they are easier to pull out.
On a positive note, the rain has done a lot of good for the rest of the garden. The Callaloo is coming along nicely and I have been harvesting leaves to add to salads. We are still getting lots of lettuce and I have had several batches of potatoes from the sacks. The pears are coming along – just hope I get to eat some before the jackdaws take them all. The cucumbers are doing nicely in the greenhouse and the chilli plants have lots of chillis on them. The peppers not so much but I think it was just too late in the day for them by the time they finally geminated. But we will see… The gladioli are coming out, the hydrangeas are lovely, the Echinacea beautiful and the Winchester Cathedral roses are having a second go at flowering. I am rather chuffed with my hanging baskets. I decided to go with geraniums as a more drought tolerant plant and the humous pots seem to be doing their job of making the watering process less onerous.
Next big job: deal with the asparagus bed. It’s a disgrace. Three years in and only 5 of 15 crowns are functioning and they are pretty pathetic. The perennial weeds have taken over so I am going to apply some ‘Roundup’ then dig everything out (asparagus crowns included) and see if can transfer over the compost bin squash. It is doing so well but will never get enough sun to ripen the squashes where it is now….. I am not done with asparagus just yet and will try again elsewhere. Location TBC….
In the meantime, I will keep up with the dead heading, feeding and weeding.
Lots to do. Best get on with it!