OK, so I’ll admit that keeping up with the blog hasn’t been particularly high on my priority list, but I honestly didn’t mean to have such a long gap between posts.
This year is turning out to be challenging for working in the garden. Firstly, I seem to have less energy than I used to. I’m not sure how, but I used to be able to fit in the gym, a full day’s work, several hours of gardening, chores, house admin and the blog all in one day – not everyday, but a few times a week. Now my choice seems to be work plus, “pick one and only one from the list” and even then I would wile the evening away playing games on the computer and sometimes, just sit in the dark nursing a bad headache from (most likely) eye strain.
Secondly, work has had me travelling a great deal for a week at a time this year. This is the loss of a whole week of evenings and a weekend’s worth of gardening work, which adds up significantly. It’s put me so far behind that there are some winter jobs that I haven’t yet got round to doing. I’ll still be doing winter 2018 jobs in winter 2020.
The weather hasn’t been playing ball either, between heavy squalls and roasting heat, it’s either too wet or too hot to be out doing work (I’m a fair weather gardener). It appears to have calmed down recently and I can plan the evenings that I’ll be out in the garden in between days of showers.
All this has added up to a “gap year” essentially, a year where the progress I had planned to make has had to be drastically scaled back. I expected to start on the large herbaceous border this summer – something that I’ve been planning for a few years now – but instead, I am still in full maintenance mode.
Previously, I’ve been skimping on the maintenance in the garden for the parts “completed” in favour of breaking new ground and making new borders, but this year is the “pay back” year, where I need to return to the established areas and prune back thuggish plants, clear out the weeds that are threatening to invade and generally just spend some time getting things back under control.
There have been small highlights such as a new wisteria and jasmine that has been planted against the house and a new (and major) stone feature in the garden. The maintenance I’ve been doing (essentially pruning and weeding) have seen the fruit trees finally pruned back hard to encourage a better shape for more fruiting, the canopy lifted on the Judas tree and Fruit Avenue finally given some attention to reclaim it from the weeds.
Weeding and pruning doesn’t make for riveting reading so I’ve used that as an excuse to not spend much time writing, which I do regret now.
I think I might need a little attitude shift though – all this time I have been thinking of the maintenance work as “time lost”, time that could have been spent on making new areas in the garden, but seeing an established border pruned back from being out of control, all weeded and neatly edged with a few plant additions here and there to fill in gaps isn’t “time lost” but more an appreciation and continuation of the hard work already done.
The borders still look out of control, but the difference is this time, it’s intentional.