Monday, 10 July 2017


The night before
It was late June, we'd had weeks of lovely mild weather, long afternoons and evenings of tender care had produced a joyful, tranquil effect.  I could barely tear myself away to go to bed. That night, smug and happy with my garden. I lay awake thinking of it, picturing it in my mind. Circling the pristine lawn, the roses were in full bloom, the foliage of the trees lush and green, diffusing the sunshine; the ornamental grasses swaying in the slight breeze, the giant daisies standing proud, the fuschias dancing in the late evening light. 
Miss Bateman (clematis) unknown Rose and Hardy Geranium

The next morning I stood, coffee in hand, in dismay as I watched it lashed by rain brought in on a ferocious north westerly wind. The trees dashed their arms like mad men, their leaves falling like confetti; the roses dripping wet, their petals swept away to stick fast to the patio windows. I could not bear to watch but I could not look away.
battered courgette

Fine sunny weather lures us into a sense of security. We come to believe it will last and last. It is only when the storm comes that we remember the precious plants we've neglected to tie securely, the lupins we should have staked, the daisies and hollyhocks that could really have done with some hidden support. We all need something to cling to in inclement weather btu as I stood at the window I thought my heart would break. For two days and one night the garden had to fend for itself.
flattened daisies

When it finally eased, I ventured outside and looked around at the lawn strewn with debris, plants blasted, some broken at the root, some fallen flat, beaten into the earth with their heart opened to view. It was a massacre but as I stood there with my trug bucket and rake,  I knew I could put it to rights. I could pick up the sticks and the litter, I could stake the plants (rather too late) tie them up, and dead head the now naked roses. It would come again. There was just one thing I couldn't put right. The worst damage was as yet invisible. I had to wait for it to show. Yet to come was the cruel burning of the salt that is carried off the sea in high coastal winds.
salt burn

It must have surprised the neighbours to see me, after such a  heavy deluge, hosing the shrubs and roses but it helps to wash off what salt you can. There was nothing to be done for the trees and taller shrubs however but watch them turn slowly from lush green to crispy brown, and then flutter down to be gathered up from the lawn. 


But this week as I dead head and fill my buckets with debris, new shoots are already emerging, the plants are beginning to straighten up and hold their heads to the sun again. I know the garden will come back and be lovely again, maybe not as fine and lush as before but it will recover and I will learn from it and be prepared next year.
Bucket one of debris
It isn't all gloom. I took the opportunity of pruning some of the roses, harder than I usually would in summer and I gave them the July feed a little earlier. They are already responding. There is nothing as cheering as a rose, so I can't be too downhearted. I am pinning my hopes on the second flush. Gardens are never perfect - I don't think they should be, but we always aspire to it. Now the greenhouse is almost up and running (I will blog about that next time) next year will be better than this and the year after that, better still.

Lady Emma Hamilton

Harlow Carr

Labelled Just Joey but I don't think it is so I just call it My How Pretty!

Olivia Jane Austin

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