Sunday, May 02, 2010

Do Over!

I have reported or rather complained over the years about our wet summers. It seems that as soon as I started this blog, weather in this part of the world, in particular the summers have been rubbish. Every year I forget the disappointments of the previous season and I dig over the garden and plant it up.

Last summer was the worst yet. It never stopped raining. Three non-rainy days together was rare. In addition to the resident humans getting quite fed up, things in the garden suffered from all sorts of damp induced infections. The potato crop was hideous with blight taking the bulk of it. Apple scab on the six apples, black spot on the roses and some sort of scab/black spot type infection on the cherry tree. The wettest summer on record (it was official) was followed by a particularly cold winter. I've experienced colder winters in the states of North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa but this was a cold winter for here. Remember that frozen drain? The winter killed off things that would normally make it through a Scottish winter. The fuchsias haven't made it and my dear old rosemary died. I liked that rosemary. I had started to get smug about its age and was starting to think that it was actually be hardier than ordinary rosemary. Here it is in the terracotta pot - it is truly dead - not a bit of green anywhere in the stems. photo of the same rosemary plant in May 2007

It had such lovely little blue flowers . . . . I bought a new little baby rosemary plant. With this new plant I am calling, "do over"! I've sprayed the roses and fruit trees with bordeaux mixture (copper sulfate) to fight the assorted blights and I'm giving potatoes a wide berth for a while as the soil in the vegetable patch is now officially infected for a number of years. I've cleared away the twigs from what remains of the crown of rhubarb. I've never seen rhubarb look so anaemic. I know that rhubarb can make it through a hard winter, but a hard winter following a poor summer has taken its toll. I have vowed that if this little crown (and it is only two years old) survives, I will not harvest any of it this year. It needs a year just to grow and get better.The standard fuchsia has died too. To tell the truth, I've never been good at getting a standard fuchsia to overwinter. I was advised to lay it on its side in the greenhouse and it would come through okay. Well it didn't. I suspect it needed to be in a heated greenhouse. I've still got the nice frost resistant blue pot. I'll try to get another and try again. You can see that my little greenhouse is up and working again (with such clean glass). The tomatoes are on the right in the red grow-bags and there is a lone cucumber plant at the top of the photo in another grow-bag. Just out of shot are the grow-bags that I shall grow basil and coriander (cilantro). I'm waiting for a nice hot day to sow the seed. Basil loves heat and sulks in cool weather. From now on, the door to this greenhouse will have to be kept shut. Sure, they look innocent enough, but these gals will SHRED unguarded greenhouses and indeed vegetable patches.

The chickens got into the greenhouse last year and riped the grow-bags to shreds trying to give themselves dust baths in the compost. It caused compost to go flying in all directions and I had to dig it out from between the glass and greenhouse frame when cleaning up earlier in the spring.
As I was so fed up with the weather and lack of sun by July last year, I sort of let the vegetable patch go. The result is that I've got plenty of weeds and grass to dig out before I can finish planting. While digging yesterday I found a handful of non-blighted potatoes. It was a little late gift from the garden.The other gift is this lovely flower bud on the lilac. It had no flowers last year. I attributed this to the lack of light. With even less light last year, I didn't expect to see any flower buds again this year but I was wrong! I'll have one! I look forward to the time when this little lilac shrub is a vigorous thug and produces armfuls of flowers. In the meantime, that little baby rosemary plant smells like the promise of summer. I feel like we will have a hot and sunny weather this year. I'll have beautiful beefsteak tomatoes. Homemade pesto with the basil I have grown . . . . curries will be made better with the aromatic coriander fresh from the greenhouse. I'll have sweet peas filling every vase and jar in the house. Courgettes and beans will be so plentiful that I'll have to give them away to neighbours. Roll on good weather!! I am ready!


Xtreme English said...

Wonderful post!!! Eliot says "April is the cruelest month," and I agree--there's always something bittersweet about spring. Some things survive the winter, others don't. I'm too busy and tired to plant this year. That's worst of all.

Are you telling us there is GLASS in that greenhouse??? It's clear as air. That's taken a lot of hard work and hope!!!

Dream on of tomatoes thick and red and savory basil pesto and bright'll happen as long as you keep working and admiring.

Jay said...

Hopefully the weather will be more cooperative this summer for you. The winter was pretty rough on that poor Rosemary. :(

dogbait said...

Global warming hasn't hit the UK yet?

Susie said...

Wishing you the perfect summer this year!

My little rosemary froze to death this year too...I'm still sad even though it was it's first year with me.

Peggy said...

Xtreme - Thanks Ma! :-)

Jay - Mother Nature can be cruel sometimes. :-)

Dogbait - I think we're suffering more from global dimming than global warming. I blame the volcanoes! ;-)

Susan - Thanks!! :-)