When I titled the last post, “Gardening on Ice” I didn’t mean for the blog to go “on ice” as well, yet here we are, over two months later with no posts, possibly the longest gap there’s been in this blog’s rather long history.
Some of the reasons are to do with the weather. I’m terrible at getting out in the cold. It’s not too bad when there’s vigorous work that will keep me warm, but there’s limited movement in cutting back plants, weeding and edging the borders and it can keep me chilled to the bone hours after I’ve come inside.
I’m a shameless fair weather gardener.
During good days, I raced outside and worked as much as I could, becoming almost frantic at the increasingly long list of tidy-up jobs that needed doing. It’s odd how plants have an accusing, withering look they can give you, even when their top-growth is dead. I tried to get round as much of the pruning and tidying as I could, feeling equal parts accomplishment and equal parts shame at having left it so late, again.
Just as we were coming into that golden spring period of dry, warm sunshine and lengthening days, I caught a cold (the first one in two years) and COVID (for the first time ever) within days of each other. It knocked me out for almost three weeks. Thankfully being vaccinated and boosted meant the symptoms were mild, but it meant I had to watch day after day of glorious sunshine pass by in miserable self-isolation.
I guess I could have written a blog post during self-isolation but I was feeling far too sorry for myself to do anything so sensible.
After I recovered I gently eased my way back into the garden by throwing myself at the patio work. I did the annual ritual of lifting heavy pots out of the way, pressure-washing the whole patio surface and – this year – giving it two coats of sealant. While the outdoors tends to be well ventilated, I did the sealant on a sunny but particularly still day and I marinated in the strong fumes for several hours, which I paid for afterwards.
During all this time of working, tidying, maintenance, illness, isolation, desperation and jubilation, the garden has been doing its thing quite happily without my intervention. The camellias are out in full bloom, as is the magnolia, some of the fruit trees are in blossom and new for this year, the daffodils are putting on a truly remarkable show.
I’ll admit that getting all this down in the blog hasn’t been a priority for me. I justified the long pause because I didn’t want to be yet-another-northern-temperate-blog, talking about spring bulbs and spring weather. I didn’t want to feel like a record on continuous repeat.
Years ago – when gardening was all new and novel – I would post on here at a furious rate with all that I’d learned and experienced. When we moved from our old garden to the blank canvas we inherited at our current home, there was so much to write about and document as I made plans and progress. There were newly reclaimed areas, new borders and new plantings, all to show off. Last year’s project was creating the final border in the garden and it was a bittersweet accomplishment. Years of work culminated in the final border, keying all the others together, it was a pinnacle achievement, but it also marked the end of a gardening era.
There’s fewer novel things to write about as I move from “exciting” and “new” to “maintenance” and “management”. It doesn’t mean the garden is boring – in fact this year it’s more spectacular than it’s ever been – I self-consciously just don’t want to write about the “same-old”. You might accuse me of neglecting the blog and honestly, you’d be right. It was convenient to leave it while spring came and “did its thing” and I used illness and emergency gardening jobs as excuses.
Posting will slow down on here as the garden matures and develops, and major new projects are replaced with minor tweaks and finishing touches. Eventually, there will come a point at which I stop posting on here altogether and I’ve known for a while just when that will be, but it isn’t now and it isn’t going to be without any notice.
I think you, me and this blog deserve much better than that.