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.

 

21 comments:

Derek Faulkner said...

Blimey Pat, every time I think that I'm old at nearly 73, you remind me that I'm just a youngster. In 1951 when you was getting married, I was only 4 years old!
You describe the fickleness of the weather very well and to be honest, I think farmers deal with it better than us gardeners. Farmers tend to shrug and know that things will even themselves out eventually, whereas us gardeners tend to worry about every single plant on a daily basis.

JayCee said...

1951 was the year of my husband's birth. Must have been a good year!

Doc said...

I have a clump of Pink Lady as well and they are doing the same as yours. Lovely weather now.

Dartford Warbler said...

I remember how cold Lincolnshire could be when we visited family there, when I was a child.

British weather always was fickle, but it seems much more unpredictable in these recent years.

Heather said...

Our weather certainly keeps us guessing. I can remember when my garden was just beginning to take shape and each night I had to festoon special plants in plastic bin liners against a late frost one. It looked awful when I looked out each morning, until the danger passed. We do what we can to cope with it all.

Hard up Hester said...

I was born in Sleaford in 1951.

Rachel Phillips said...

You've got a lot of friends with initials for names.

Bovey Belle said...

Just when everything is enjoying the sunshine again, we get a weather forecast for low temps at the weekend. We will have to rug up the tiny seedlings in the polytunnel and greenhouse or they will turn up their toes.

I hope that your Pink Lady survives.

What a memory from 1951 - the year before I was born!

Granny Sue said...

I too was born in 1951--seems I have good company among your blog friends!

Our weather has been wet, wet, wet. There are pools standing everywhere, even on this hillside. And the weatherman predicts frost, freeze and possibly snow by the weekend. It will probably do like last year, and turn off hot & dry for the summer.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes Rachel - presumably their parents were too lazy to bother with a name!

Tom Stephenson said...

I was busy being born in 1951...

angryparsnip said...

Gosh I am just a young one. Born 1947 !
parsnip

Red said...

It's easy to say but farmers and gardeners have to learn to live with the weather. Where I live we have an average of 12 - 14 in of precipitation a year. This includes the snowfall. But we learned to farm so that we grow very good crops. I'm not a farmer but I am a gardener.

Joanne Noragon said...

The weather here in Ohio just won't get right either. I should be out covering the hanging baskets tonight, but have no extra sheets and no newspapers. Guess they're on their own.

Cro Magnon said...

We gardeners are a slave to weather; I suppose it's the one thing I worry about above all others.

Jules said...

According to the weather forecast we are to expect an overnight frost here this weekend. X

The Weaver of Grass said...

Red - what you say is absolutely right - but we have all got into the habit of moaning about the weather havent we?

Eileen in Fla. said...

I am keeping Google and Wikepedia in business looking up the Anglican words you use. Learning so much about your history and culture. Today's Word of the Day is "Whitsuntide." Even as a lifetime Methodist, never heard it called anything but Pentecost.

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