Sometimes, the only way I can remember what I have been doing all week, is through the pictures I have taken. The weather up until Friday was perfect, but it started raining in the night … I heard it tapping on the window whilst in that half-sleep before dawn. The morning brought grey skies and mist lying across the fields … the flower heads drooping with the weight of the rain. It was desperately needed … I can’t remember when it last rained … I have done my best with the hose trying to keep everything alive but a good, steady rain makes all the difference.
I have been gathering soft fruit every day … whenever I ventured to the top of the garden young blackbirds would fly out of the bushes … they have been feasting … but there is enough to go round and I don’t begrudge them a few tasty morsels. Foolishly I planted the Loganberries right next to the bird table, the birds are treating them like a convenience store, visiting the bird table and having fruit for dessert … thank you gardening lady … very generous of you!
It has also been the time for emptying the freezer of the leftover fruit from last year … I will be turning it all into jams and jellies … making way for this years harvests. I prefer to eat the fruits as I go along … but even I can’t make use of all of it straight away.
The last of the Rhubarb has been pulled … I stick to the old premise that you should leave the remaining sticks on the plant when July arrives … this gives the plant time to restore and replenish for next year … I don’t know whether this is just an old wives tale but I do it anyway … by this time I am a little tired of rhubarb anyway. The last few sticks have been cooked … cut up, covered with sugar and a little water, brought to the boil then taken off the heat … it continues cooking in the residual heat but doesn’t go mushy … the slightly tart/sweet fruit will be consumed eagerly with vanilla ice cream … nothing else … for me, best eaten simply.
I always regard July and August as quiet months in the garden, nothing much to do except keep everything alive, the odd spot of weeding and deadheading. All the plant buying has been done … if I haven’t got it now it will have to wait till next year. At the beginning of the gardening year I thought it would be an interesting exercise to keep a record of just how much I spend on the garden. Have you ever seriously considered how much you spend on your hobbies/pastimes every year?
I started keeping a tally in a notebook – after two months – March and April – I stopped. It was just too frightening. I always thought that I gardened on a tight budget – I was wrong. Every time I visited a garden centre or nursery I came away with an armful of plants – a few packets of seeds – a weekly bag of potting compost – it soon adds up. Boy how it adds up.
Personally I think garden centres and nurseries should be banned for they are the cause of it all. Seed and plant catalogues, garden magazines ought to be put on a black list as floral pornography – kept in the back room of the shops and only handed out when the addiction is too strong to ignore and you need a quick floral fix.
I shudder to think just how much I have handed over the counter for instant gardening pleasure over the years. And the worst of it is that most plants will only last for one season, even if they are called perennial, they disappear over winter, never to return.
So if you want my advice, and to avoid having a heart attack – don’t keep a record of your garden outgoings. Enjoy your indulgences – make your garden look beautiful without a backward glance at the cost – it’s the only way.
So that’s two months of no more spending – saving the pennies for the bulb-buying spree in September and October.
My latest news has me so excited - on Monday I am going with a friend to Highgrove here , Prince Charles’ garden. You have to book ahead and numbers are limited, you have to take identification with you, and no cameras or phones are allowed – which is a bit of a ‘downer’ – I just hope it lives up to expectations! I’ll let you know.
‘Til next time – I give you a ‘royal wave’ and just hope the weather is fine (some hope – it’s pouring down at the moment).