Thursday, 3 July 2014


Just now my garden is at its peak. There's a riotous jumble of flowers out there and the bees, hoverflies and butterflies seem to be enjoying it as much as I am.

It's easy to love our smallish plot of soil at this time of year. In the months leading to Open Studios in July we clear, sow, plant and even mulch in an attempt to bring the flowers to a sort of crescendo. The garden, always forgiving, repays me in posies.

I'm a shamefaced fair weather gardener though. I tend to turn my back on our patch between September and March and nestle inside under quilts instead, peering outside and tutting now and again at the crispy jungle. This year I resolve not to neglect the garden during the colder season. I hope that writing this good intention down will prevent me from retreating inside the cottage at the first sign of falling leaves. I haven't planted a new Spring bulb in years. I've certainly never sown cut flower seeds in late summer. This must change.

Yesterday my sweet peas began to flower. I always feel as though I've cheated if I buy baby plants from the garden centre. These were not sown by me and what's more they sat forlorn in their pots for several weeks before I planted them. For shame. I redeemed myself though. I made them a willow obelisk to climb up. My friend Val taught me how. Then I dug approximately 300 roast dinners-worth of compost and muck onto the soil before I planted them. They seem more lush than any sweet peas I've grown before. To the right of the (somewhat grainy iPhone) image above is lusty, jungly sweet pea growth covered in buds. This may have something to do with the water I've been giving them. Consistent hose and watering can action is not my forte. So far this year my form is not exemplary but I have not yet dessicated anything, which is new for me.

I fear my love for my garden is a little shallow - it's all about the dahlia and the foxglove and the floral fireworks and not about feeding the soil in bleakest February and planting bulbs in October when the soil is cold and claggy. I fear I'm insufficiently committed. I resolve to do better.

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