Once more we’ve arrived on the summer equinox; midsummer’s day, the longest day of the year, and where on this day last year we were experiencing just the beginning of what would turn out to be one of the best summer seasons on record, this year’s late spring/early summer weather has been a considerable challenge for every gardener especially across these isles of Ireland and the UK.
It has been wet; very wet on occasion, and it has also been extremely dull, and with the low light level and constant rain we’ve had to make late sowings of many of the monster’s staples as the original sowings and plantings were either washed completely away or withered through chill and lack of full bright light, and even though today began with such promise with clear skies and sunshine from before 5.00am, it has since become cloudy and brooding with a mid-afternoon temperature of only 14 degrees Celsius, and a forecast for heavy thundery downpours.
But! It is what it is, and it most definitely is mid-summers in Ireland. We’ve not much to tell that would be any different from a retelling of earlier posts and the whys of why we’ve had to redo a lot of things we’ve had to redo on the plot, because, as just intimated it has been all weather related, and it has been little more than a copy and paste scenario with late April into early May, and now into early June…So, we’ll just update with a few images for now.
28th day of May; current temperature 11 degrees Celsius and in a fresh northwesterly it feels more like 8 degrees. 147 days of the year gone and 218 till we’re back with a January.
It has been an average spring, meterologically speaking: sunshine and showers, thunder and lightening, late frosts, and rough winds a plenty to shake those darling buds.
RHS Chelsea has come and gone, Chatsworth kicks-off next week whilst here on our own little green isle the biggest event in the Irish gardening calendar gets under way once more in just 3 days time when the Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park opens for its 13th year. The spring Bank Holiday was observed yesterday across the pond, while next Monday sees us here in Ireland celebrate the Whitsun holiday and with that the official onset of early summer.
We’ve not posted anything at all since the Greenfingers reminder in early April. We’ve had a little time on our hands of late, an imposed time-out necessitated by our own incongruant numbers of sorts, but, we were paying attention; idly perhaps, but definitely nonetheless. Did you know that there was a total of 27 medals awarded at this year’s RHS Chelsea show? Did you know for instance, that the greatest number of consecutive gold medals ever won at this same show was 60, by Hilliers Nursery, Romsey, from 1939-2004? and something you may not know is that left with the time on our hands we discovered that we have 79 different varieties of flower and vegetables on the monster’s measure this year, and in remembering that we still have some late varieties of swede and cabbages to go out, and late tenders for the polytunnel still to sow, well, that should tip the our sowing diary over the 80 mark before too long.
The curtailment in physical activity the last 6 weeks at least directed dirtdigging interest elsewhere. We now know the 10 Top Pots for Summer Patios and the 20 Best Gardens Along The Wild Atlantic Way. We also now know 5 Fiery Blooms for instant colour and 7 sure-fire steps to a greener lifestyle. We are also reliably informed that we can have 12 months membership of the RHS for only 9 months subscription, oh! And that the number 1 plant at the RHS this year is a sedum (one of our favourites btw) sedum takesimense ‘Atlantis’. It’s all about the numbers. You need a score of 27 points for a gold medal award at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and just to make things a little more challenging from next year those wishing to win one of the coveted medallions and seals will now have to score 30 points.
Monster in the corner set out its stall 9 years ago, and a little over 2 years ago had to endure a forced move and relocation, but it all came good, so much so that awards for best in category and class were presented to the monster in 2015, 2016 and 2017. We’ve a little catching-up to do but not too much, the Monster’s measure is well laid, and Mrs. Dirtdigger’s fingers are truly greened. We will stake-out the planting paddles this weekend and once we bed the French beans and pumpkins in the coming fortnight we will be all set for summer 2019.
Last year’s monster bounty saw us make (among other things)120 jars of jam, 9 jars of chutney and over 40 jars of tomato sauce and salsa, and the first preserves of this year’s season should be jarred in the coming days. So just as the Sowing Diary entries wane, the Monster’s Mouth pages now increase.
50 pots of purple cascade sown; 6 greenshaft courgettes, 7 black beauty, cucumbers and almost everything else put to bed. 25 days left till the full-bright, midsummers day and still plenty of time to get the kicks. But look after yourselves as you’d look after your garden, take a little time to garden the self, for as grumpy ol’ Sam Beckett once surmised there are More Pricks Than Kicks about the place; indeed, and as the good book itself records in Acts chapter 9 verse 25, it is hard to kick against this worlds pricks.
Hopefully we will have some long hot days to look forward to in the coming weeks, a few weeks the likes of those experienced last summer certainly wont go amiss but whatever the coming summer season brings, chill out, and we’ll post more anon..
As with the seasons, the garden is not required to be in harmony with the gardener’s expectations of it. Gardening and allotmenteering is a process of learning to work with what you have, and this year -more than any other in recent years – both the garden and the seasons have challenged even the most experienced gardener and Plantsman; but what a year it has been to date. An old adage says that if you always expect the worst, then everything else will be a bonus, and whether or not you agree with the couched principle of this succinct aphorism, the experiential irony is not lost. Skeptical commentary aside however, the year to date has presented us with both the best and worst of gardening times, and there is still one full quarter portion to run.
As usual, the arrival of the New Year heralded a new chapter in the gardener’s almanac and diary, but it was not too long before the great gardening expectation was consigned to a much longer than expected stay in winter’s stasis chamber, whence it seemed winter showed no shadow of parting at all. Yet depart it did, and in what seems little more than the blink of an eye the sheaves and sisters are being brought in…