Garden 2013 no 7
It’s been a while since I posted on my garden. This summer has flown by; retirement is a very busy time of life for me. Like I said last time, I spent May in France and when I came home the garden was overgrown thanks to the deluge of rain that fell while I was away.
The mini monsoons have been followed by six weeks of 30 + degrees, I’ve been hose piping the garden every night after the sun dies down. These are temperatures virtually unknown in Scotland. Although I have to say this heqt wave is coming to an end, we have had thunder storms and today we are back to heavy rains.
This bizarre combination of rain and extreme heat has made a noticeable difference to the garden. The soft fruit all yielded bumper crops and I have a freezer full ready for jams and preserves when I get back.
The only problem with the fruit was the birds, I think they ate as much as I picked; (mental note to self, buy fruit nets before next year). I even had 6 delicious red cherries from my young cherry tree. Not exactly a bumper crop, but it’s a young tree and this is the first year it has produced. I’m hoping this is a good omen for years to come.
The vegetables didn’t do so well. The beetroot looked as if it was flourishing, but under all those leaves leaves, were tough, woody baby beetroots hardly the size of walnuts.
I couldn’t leave them in the ground any longer because they started to go to seed, most of them didn’t even make it into the kitchen; they went straight into the compost.
I had more shallots than ever before. I’ve just lifted them out of the ground because I’m off to France again next week and I want to get them into jars of spiced vinegar before I go away. I’m struggling to find enough space to dry them all.
The garlic looks OK, not quite ready to lift yet so I’m hoping it doesn’t go to seed while I’m away. I need it to make my herb oil. I planted sets of red onions and the leaves grew tall but the onions themselves didn’t grow. I’ve pulled them from the ground because they started to flower, I’ll use the couple that grew to a decent size but the bulk of my red onions are destined for the compost pile. Salad has been strange, I’ve had a constant supple of huge radishes and spring onions, I pulled the last today because I want to use them before going away. That’s it for this year; I’ll not be putting in any more seeds in now, it’s too late in the season.
I’ve also had a never ending supply of cress growing in the window but; none of the lettuce, rocket or salad leaves survived. Despite my daily hose pipe watering, they died off as fast as I could plant them. In the end I gave up and concentrated on the things that grew. The oddest thing of all this year is the non show of the nasturtium flower. Every year I grow lots and lots of nasturtiums and they’ve always flowered profusely.
This year I’ve had the usual abundance of good strong healthy looking plants, they are a great addition to the salad bowl, but not a single flower, and I’ve no idea why. My lavender liked the hot weather, I have lots drying ready to make little lavender sachets.
Talking of flowers, this year I have really enjoyed my flowers. I’ve spent the last few years transforming my garden from the traditional lawn and flower borders into a food producing plot.
I’ve spent very little time here in the last few months because I’ve been trying to cram so much in. I’ve spent a long time in France, I’ve spent more time than usual enjoying the company of my grandchildren, I have my painting to find time for plus I now like to go out taking photographs AND, I like to walk every day. I have signed up for photographic competitions AND a painting competition. I can walk much further now than I used to. I’m determined to keep up with the walking, I want my retirement to be long, happy and healthy, and to do that I need to keep fit and walking every day is my chosen method.
So now I’m thinking maybe my garden would be better used as a quiet restful place where I can sit and relax occasionally rather than a place that needs time and effort. I guess its all about priorities; no one can do every thing. I’m considering grassing back over the vegetable plot and just keeping the soft fruit, they mostly look after themselves any way and I do quite like making jam. No firm decisions yet but I’m ‘considering my options’ as they say. I’ll miss the shallots, they always do well and I like to have pickles but I’ve come to realise, I can’t have every thing.
I’ve already made a quiet area at the top of my garden where I can sit and enjoy the sun and I’m still thinking about putting the grass back.
These are just random photos taken over the last month or so. Like I said, I’m enjoying getting back into sitting watching the flowers. It’s been hectic, but it’s been fun.
When I get back from France this time my priority will be to paint the garden walls, fences and gates. It’s a big job and should have been done this summer but now I’ll have to find time to for it in between this trip to France and my next one which will probably be in October. I hope the weather lasts because I can’t paint in the rain.
The grandchildren go home on Tuesday and I leave again for France on Thursday. It’s my sisters 60th birthday and we are having a garden party. I doubt I will post again before I leave although I will do my best to visit sites and posts I’ve missed.