Writing this from my own little tiny bluebell wood at the bottom of the garden. Worked all weekend to sort the place out so it’s at least respectable for sitting in and pottering round as opposed to relentlessly depressing, as has been the case since about October. Getting chilly now, but worth it, the last rays of sunlight come over the top of the house and catch the gnarly and ivy covered trees at the bottom and pick out the bluebells in front of them. The wooded bit doesn’t look good for long in the year, only in spring. All other times it just turns to mud, either the marshy mud of waterlogged winter or the cracked mess of waterless summer. In spring though, it’s gorgeous.
I’ve got plans for it, I’ve always got plans – just, as usual, thwarted by a lack of money to put them into action. I made a list of a whole bunch of shade loving plants I could put down here – giant hostas, a patch of hellebores, some ferns. I could make this bit look fantastic if I could spare a couple of hundred quid to throw at it, but there’s the whole ‘feeding six people on one salary’ thing to contend with right now so a stack of extravagant plants isn’t on the agenda. One day, one day.
Today though, it’s all cool. I’m back to being at peace with the garden as opposed to at war with it, which is a nice feeling.
I don’t know yet if this year can be said to be going better than last year in terms of gardening. It’s July, and so far there’s been nothing edible other than a small handful of strawberries and some radishes that nobody ate and that ended up in the compost. I have some stuff growing, runner beans, broad beans, peas, squashes, courgettes, but I don’t have a great deal of confidence that anything will make it to being productive before the weather turns bad again.
The attached picture is of a rooks’ nest at the end of our garden. It’s always struck me as odd, as there’s a larger rookery a couple of hundred yards further down the road, with several nests. But we’ve just got this one on its own. Why? Are they loners? Exiles? Have they been expelled? The original nest blew down in a gale over the winter, but they’ve rebuilt it. Just wish I could speak rook.
It’s warm, yes. That’s good. But my garden is in a desperate state. Nothing in the way of new growth, and nothing to watch growing. It struck me that the watching of new growth in the garden, that long, spring vigil where I’d return from work each day and inspect the whole garden methodically for change, cheering on shoots and raging at damage by slugs and pests, had become an important ritual for me and I’ve missed it this year.
I keep reading that everything will catch up, but I’m not confident that I will, the beds are still unworkable and the seeds unplanted. That makes me sad, and rather anxious.
Sat outside today with laptop, notebook and voice recorder, and importantly, beer. Couldn’t use the laptop because the sun was too bright, but hell, that’s a problem I’m more than happy to be living with given the weather we’ve had for the last few weeks.
And then I started noticing the butterflies. First ones I’ve seen all year. There were lots of them too.
And some of the bees that usually make nests in the clay. No chance of that at the moment though, the ground is so waterlogged, and likely to remain so. I worry about my bees. I want them to have somewhere to live. I might dig up some big piles of earth for them which are high enough not to flood. I also have a bee hotel that they’re welcome to move in to.
Not much sign of many plants having survived though. We’ll see, but I think this year might be a gardening write off.