Tuesday, 5 May 2020
The Fickle Finger of Fortune.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the British weather and its 'on'/'off' relationship with the British garden as I am sure every gardener will agree. Last Autumn (in fact July onwards) saw the wettest Autumn for many a year, particularly up here in Wensleydale when it started with the horrendous afternoon storm which resulted in the foundations of some houses washed away, dozens of houses badly flooded, farm yard stocks ruined, unbelievable damage done to crops. My back garden was under water for a while and my patio flooded until it all ran off into poor H's garden next door and luckily down her drive rather than into her garage.
Now crops are planted in the fields as they have dried out and milking herds are out for the Summer, full of the joys of Spring to be frolicking in the green, green grass.. Not a care in the world as the farmers now worry that it is so long since we had a 'decent rain' that the grass isn't growing fast enough to keep up with the speed the cows are eating it. Last year in the early part of the year Derek worried about the way the Reserve in Kent was drying out and there were huge cracks in the ground. Then as the winter went on the rainfall caught up, the channels were full, everywhere began to look right again. Now again the land is beginning to dry up. Last week - magic - a really good rain down there in Kent - just to coincide with young fledglings of the ground nesters beginning to hatch out. And so it goes on - nothing is ever as we wish it would be.
Of course for us gardeners nothing is as important. We might think it is but for most of us it is not our livelihood. But that doesn't stop us worrying about trivialities like whether to protect against a possible frost on tender plants, whether to water or let a plant take its chance, when to stake. My Pink Lady iris is in deep bud and every day I hope it will burst into bloom and I can take a photograph to show you (I shall be mortified if it isn't pink). But it does not bloom and in the meantime it grows taller and taller. I got D to plant it up against a South-facing wall with plenty of shelter against the wind and in really good soil. Now the buds stick well above the top of the wall so I am hoping there isn't a strong wind!
But this is not just recent weather. Friends S and T called this morning and we chatted from my doorway to the middle of the lawn where they stood. They are keen gardeners and we talked of the weather and the coming forecast for this weekend. I was telling them of the year 1951, the year of my first engagement and the year before my first marriage. It was the Sunday of Whitsuntide and M, my husband to be, took me to a little Lincolnshire town called Sleaford to meet his dearest friends for the first time (to get their approval?) and I remember I wore my best Winter coat which was a peacock-blue Windsmoor creation with a huge shawl collar and I was frozen. So much so that the memory of that has remained with me all these years.