Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Summer (13 SEP 2011)

Before I started blogging about gardening, I would have guessed that the summer season would provide the most opportunities for writing posts, but that hasn't been the case. I've been delaying publishing a post about summer 2011, waiting for a miracle to happen, but with the weather getting colder, heavy rain last week and winds bellowing for the past few days, it seems unlikely. The plastic greenhouse remains on the ground where it blew over, broken jars where they crashed, sprinkling the seeds of the offspring of last year's plants. This summer was supposed to be my chance to put right all the mistakes I made last year, my first year of experimenting with plants, but the truth is that my garden looked more impressive then with much less effort.

That's the joy of gardening, sometimes it delivers more than one expects or deserves, sometimes less. It adds an element of unpredictability to an otherwise mundane existence. When I was younger, I used the word mundane in a negative way, it meant boring because each day was the same. I spent most of my youth being bored, expecting everyone except myself to make it more interesting and spent more hours than I'm prepared to admit watching TV. Then I would see people living in hardship around the world and feel guilty for describing my life in such a way. As I get older, I am grateful for the sense of security that the repetition of each day brings, realising that it might be temporary; well aware that sickness, job loss, family troubles or an unforetold problem could be looming around the corner to interrupt the routine of my days.

So this summer, superimposed over the base-line satisfaction of completing everyday chores and duties, the peaks and troughs of delight and disappointment experienced in my garden have added a new excitement, which I can take or leave as I please. As you might have gathered, I'm grabbing with both hands.

To illustrate my point, here are some photos taken of the same section of flower-bed during the past couple of months ....

I could almost smile at the slugs and snails, as they look at me innocently with stretched tentacles, for eating my seedlings, some of which were destined for this flower-bed half-filled with houttuynia and marigolds. You can just about see the scraggy lupin plantlet with fingered leaves, one of the few which survived the attack. On the positive side, I love marigolds and the menacing multi-coloured houttuynia which I feared would invade the whole bed, especially with the recent wet weather, continues to maintain a discrete and beautiful presence.

faithful marigolds

waiting for summer to arrive JUL 2011



The gladioli were a surprise, way too beautiful to inhabit my garden. I saw the leaves in July and assumed they were remnants of daffodils. I had dug up all the gladioli from last summer for storage but the bulbs looked rotten in spring so I didn't bother to replant them. I must have missed these; they seem to have multiplied by themselves because I don't remember planting them so close together. These bulbs will remain in situ.
surprise gladioli bloomed during a couple of days of sunshine      02 SEP 2011

Just when I was thinking that the flower-bed didn't look so bad and my fickle attention was drawn from the marigolds to the gladioli, heavy rain battered down the latter whilst they were still in their prime, only to reveal that the scraggy lupin had recovered and started to flower, even though the seed packet said it would bloom the next year after sowing.
after heavy rain  08 SEP 2011
early lupin - 6 months old

When I look at this lupin and the hollyhock in the previous post, it feels worthwhile making the effort to raise seedlings (the marigolds raised themselves), planting them in nursery patches then transplanting them in their final positions. All of this was possible because I wasn't able to go on a summer vacation this year, but it's probably been the best summer I've ever had. 

©Copyright 2011 b-a-g. All rights reserved. Content created by b-a-g for http://experiments-with-plants.blogspot.com/2011/09/summer-13-sep-2011.html


Stacy said...

"I am grateful for the sense of security that the repetition of each day brings, realising that it might be temporary[.]" Oh, well put. In childhood we crave all these adventures, and in adulthood we realize what they mean... Given the alternatives, mundane is (mostly) just fine. Your garden has certainly been full of dramatic action--the gladioli-to-lupine presto-change-o had me laughing, though I'm sorry your poor (bonus) glads got so roughed up. Looking forward to the next transmogrification.

Anonymous said...

It's nice to watch your babies grow into such gracious looking plants. The weather does humble the best of them, really? Lupins never come back for me in our climate, so that is a nice surprise.

Masha said...

I agree, gardening is a joy with all its pitfalls and surprises. Your gladioli is such a beautiful example of gardening by neglect. I hope you don't give up raising plants from seeds, and can't wait to see more pictures of your beautiful flowers.

One said...

Hi Bag, You are sounding rather 'illuminated'. :)

Have fun growing those gorgeous flowers that I can't grow.

Alistair said...

Mundane, boring, habitual and happy. I am with you all the way, Myra wanna go clubbing tonight, your support tights are laddered, ok maybe tomorrow. Your Gladiolas look great b-a-g, I suppose they wouldnt need lifting in your area. So glad you havent tired of gardening,I always look forward in seeing what you are getting up to.

HolleyGarden said...

"I've been delaying publishing a post about summer 2011, waiting for a miracle to happen" "but it's probably been the best summer I've ever had". I think that's the miracle. Even in the worst of years, we gardeners are still optimistic, proud of the smallest successes, and always looking toward next year.

b-a-g said...

Thanks Stacy - Glad you enjoyed my garden soap opera. To be continued ...

Thanks Donna - When I opened the back door and saw the wreckage left by the wind, I wasn't upset. I just accepted it. I would not have been so calm about my possessions being destroyed before I started gardening.

Thanks Masha - It's funny how more is created by neglect than by trying. Though I did plant the bulbs in the first place, I just forgot they were there.

Thanks One - I didn't intend it to be "illuminated", but you have a point. Loved your post about the "illuminated" lotus flower.

Thanks Alistair - Why do I get the feeling that Myra wont be cooking you any dinner tonight ?

Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens said...

I just commented on another blog that the triumphs and the tragedies of gardening are both part of its joy.

In the book Cutting for Stone there is a passage about the uneventful day being a great gift. I thought it was so meaningful that I copied it over but left it in Maine. I can relate completely.

b-a-g said...

Thanks Holly - Glad to see your box plants have survived the drought and grown into the hedges that you imagined.

Thanks Carolyn - I admire people who rely on gardening for their livelihoods, despite all the uncontrollable factors. I don't think I could be that brave.

linniew said...

I love the way you carry us along with your highs and lows in this gardening thing b-a-g, it's like being inside my own head. The surprises, like the gladiola blooms, are such a nice gift and keep us going. Very sorry to hear that the wind was rude to your greenhouse. I hope you can just tip it up and tie it down-- Onward!

b-a-g said...

Thanks Linnie - the plastic greenhouse survived, and is now stored away till spring. I even managed to scrape up some of the grandchildren seeds of my original plants.

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