Garden Blog - Blog Post

Back to Bedlam


Well, it’s been… a while.

We last left off at the end of our first and busiest ever NGS season. Ten events – five public – five by arrangement – and a record amount of money raised. We were coming down from the high of NGS and recovering from a season of openings. The garden was slipping into Autumn but there was still lots of enjoyment to be had from it. As jobs, I’d neatened the border edging all the while ignoring the chaos in the borders that had accumulated over the summer.

Panic-buying plants is in full swing.

Exhausted, we took a step back and relaxed with other things decidedly not related to gardening. There would be a natural break in garden jobs until later in autumn.

Which is when it started to rain.

And it’s not stopped since.

I’m glossing over months of other life-events that had a serious impact on me, but keeping to gardening, the wet weather and consequently wet garden prevented me from being able to do my usual winter clean up in early spring. Early spring all too quickly turned into early summer and still the rain persisted and the garden never dried out.

Three hostas split into fifteen.

It’s still wet now and there are borders that I’ve not been able to properly reach since last year because the ground is so wet. In our heavy clay soil, footsteps on wet ground remain imprinted for a long time. We’ve had light showers today and stepping onto the grass gives the characteristic “squelch” that has been the bane of my existence for the last six months.

The worst thing about our soil is that it is heavy and seemingly always wet.

Ferns are loving the terminally wet conditions.

The best thing about our soil is that is it heavy and seemingly always wet.

Case in point – I tried to weed the border (yes, it is almost June and I have not been able to do the first round of weeding) but managed to cake my gardening gloves in soil that was so wet and sticky it wouldn’t rub off while also leaving a huge dent in the grass at the border edge. I couldn’t grip my gardening tools since there was so much soil stuck to my gloves and the handles, they might as well have been covered in grease. I’m not that heavy, but I could feel myself slowly sinking into the ground as I stood trying to water in some newly panic-bought plants with a watering can.

On the other hand, it is almost June and I can still lift and divide established clumps of moisture-loving Astilbes and hostas, and replant them without worrying whether they would dry out. The ground is so wet they haven’t even slightly wilted and I probably won’t have to water them in much either.

An all-too common sight this season.

It’s all very well waiting until July or August for the weather to dry out but I have the first NGS Open Garden event of the season in just two weeks and there is still weeding to be done, plants to prune and border edging to make-good. I doubt I will manage to get all those jobs done. While scanning through last year’s photos of the garden around this time, I saw how immaculate and well-presented it turned out. I caught myself saying, “goodness, I didn’t know it could look like *that*”, what I have this year could be classed as a more “naturalistic” look, if one were being generous.

Struggling to progress the border edges and weeding in wet weather.

So it’s back to bedlam and running around like a madman trying to prepare – as best as possible – for the NGS season. We had a few people round for a garden pre-visit where they didn’t seem to notice creeping buttercup running rampant though a border or that grass had entirely gone from a long section of path (thanks, flopping plants) and had yet to re-grow. They didn’t notice the roses hadn’t been pruned or that a lot of the winter clean up hadn’t been done. While that is encouraging, I’m still sat on the weather forecast for any chance that we might have more than 48 hours without rain so the garden might have a chance to dry out and in turn, I might have a chance to actually get some work done in it.

It’s not looking good though, I’m only writing this now since it’s been raining (several times) today it’s looking the same tomorrow.

Sitting around not likely, for me a least.
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author & gardener

Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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Lynn Hunt 27/05/2024 - 3:34 pm

Sunil, Happy Birthday! It must be very frustrating to have constant rain for months!! My goodness, the garden still looks good after all that. I know you will pull it all together in time. In the meantime, I’ll pray for NO rain! Take care, Lynn

Sunil 28/05/2024 - 5:51 pm

Thank you, Lynn! Yes, the rain has been very frustrating and held work back by at least a month. It’s rained a few times today as well so there doesn’t seem to be any respite. We’re going to be handing out snorkels on the day at this rate!

Jean 03/06/2024 - 3:42 pm

Oh my, heavy rain and clay soil is a difficult combination. I find wet springs and summers discouraging, even with my sandy, well-draining soil. I feel certain, though, that while you look at your garden and see what hasn’t been done, visitors will see the beauty of what you have created.


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