Rained Off

There is probably something amiss in your life if Mondays are a day when you look forward to taking a rest. Mulling over why my weekends have become such a maelstrom of activity, I realise that, as usual, I have bitten off more than I can chew. I get to Sunday night tired, achy and slightly dissatisfied with my efforts outdoors. Surely this isn’t how a gentle pursuit like gardening should leave one feeling? Despite many years of experience, I can only conclude that I am suffering from the malady that prevents many people from embracing their gardens – that overwhelming feeling of not being able to get on top of things.

Hydrangea quercifolia is flowering for the first time
Hydrangea quercifolia is flowering for the first time

Planting up a host of pots in our new seaside garden seemed like a quick enough task, but did I consider the longer term maintenance? Of course not. The resultant watering and the worry of what might be drying out during the week has started to cause me serious concern. I am neglecting our main garden, open in less than three weeks, and am rushing at jobs in a fashion that might politely be described as multi-tasking, but would honestly be deemed haphazard. Meanwhile, back in London, I am discovering that a semi-ornamental vegetable garden needs more thought and planning than I have time for, plus there is more watering and a greenhouse full of stateless seedlings to tend to. My ambition when it comes to the garden knows no bounds, but by Sunday evening my body knows about it. Gardening under pressure is no fun.

Hostas, zantedeschias and lilies enjoying the gentle rain
Hostas, zantedeschias and lilies enjoying the gentle rain this week

Consequently a few days of wet weather have come as an enormous relief. There have even been mornings when I haven’t needed to go outside and water at the crack of dawn. Whilst not a ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card for pots and tubs, longer periods of rain do at least take care of the borders. And, who knows, if the rain continues it may create a long enough interlude for me to open the slithery mound of gardening magazines on the coffee table, or even to flick through the myriad bulb catalogues that have dropped onto the doormat.

Lilium 'Red Velvet'
Lilium ‘Red Velvet’

Alas, I know this will never happen, just as I know I am unlikely to temper my enthusiasm when it comes to new growing opportunities. I will always be a martyr to my garden and will probably never take the time I should to just sit and enjoy the fruits of my labour. The rain is due to stop tomorrow and the hot weather will return, just in time for another weekend.

Watering, rained off for now
Watering, rained off for now!

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14 thoughts on “Rained Off

  1. Gardeners never know when to stop do they? Know any good solar water features you can recommend? I just got back from a week of vacation in Maine, haven’t started weeding yet so I’m sure I need to get back to researching my desire for a small water feature where I have no electricity. 🙂

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  2. Poor you – and I now exactly how you feel. Leaving my garden to the tender mercies of the other half while I’m in London, Tuesday to Thursday, is a recipe for drooping (in some cases dying) plants and marital disharmony, yet every year I sow more seeds and plant more pots.
    As someone who if I’m going to do something, always tries to do it brilliantly, I gasped out loud when I first read the phrase ‘Done is better than perfect’. And yet now, a year or so later (and of course a year or so older) I can sometimes make myself believe it. It hurts when all is not perfect, but so often we’re by far our worst critics and everyone else thinks it is perfect.
    Enjoy your garden opening, and bask in all the compliments I know you’ll receive. Wish I could be there!

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    1. Thank you so much. I am glad I struck a chord with someone else. Our seaside garden often has to survive Sunday night to Friday night with an occasional sprinkle midweek, but that’s not really enough in this weather. Where we have more shade in London I can almost get away with a week. Him indoors ‘deluges’ rather than irrigates, so I have to be careful what I ask him to look after – generally nothing too small and vulnerable! Like you I don’t really subscribe to doing anything less than perfectly, but I do recognise how much this contributes to my own sense of panic! After the open weekend I will let it go a bit more. I have my niece coming to stay so that will seriously distract me!

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    1. I have and I should do again. Just as I dislike seeing plant supports I hate the idea of having the ground criss-crossed by black hose. Plus I tend to move my pots around constantly which might not help. Under normal circumstances I find watering quite therapeutic, just not when it feels like forced labour. Thank you for sympathising!

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      1. Me three (horridly familiar)! And on the irrigation front, after five years in Australia I have decided I am better off without irrigation, even with our summers. It sounds a wonderful idea but I’ve never found a system that really works properly (sprayers are blocked by tall plants, drippers are too localised….). Mulch, however, is a truly wonderful thing (I use a commercial compost or cow manure for the garden, lucerne/pebbles for pots).

        Whilst none of us want to put our dear plants under any stress, whenever we go away, I do find it amazing what they will put up with (but still, begrudgingly, mollycoddle them when I am home!). The worst feeling for me, is when I’m ultra busy (i.e. always) and we are getting a bit of rain, but not much is forecast, and due to time constraints I end up having to water in the rain. It happens annoyingly frequently!

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      2. Ah yes, watering in the rain. Him Indoors doesn’t get that at all! Yet I have had to go out most days this week and water drooping abutilons and dahlias in pots. The leaves just deflect the water away. I really don’t mind watering, even in the rain, and especially with a G&T in my other hand, but would love a bit more time to do it. Have a brilliant weekend Janna.

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  3. Oh my, yes! When I was younger I’d view the rain and say “Grrrr, can’t work on my garden to-do list today!” but now it’s “Hooray, I won’t need to drag the hose around for at least the next few days!”

    As for garden sizes, when I had a 1/3 acre property I yearned for an acre. Then I had 1/8 acre and dreamed of 1/2 acre. When I had 1/2 acre I thought that should be the absolute minimum — I’d never want less. Now that I can’t keep on top of 1/2 acre, anything between 1/4 and 1/3 acre seems like the perfect size, LOL

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  4. Good luck with your opening. I am impressed with your organisation and mental cataloguing. It is amazing the hours that we sink into watering in summer and it takes a lot of ingenuity to limit the constant need, without compromising on beauty. When you think of a good solution you must share it!

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  5. Like the others above, I can completely sympathize and relate to your complaint. I share it. For me it is weeding. I always think I can stay on top, but it never happens. And if I could get it all weeded and edged, then I’d mulch it all to keep the moisture from evaporating and keep the weeds from germinating. But if I can’t get it weeded, I can’t get it edged, and I can’t get it mulched….That stack of garden magazines are still in the plastic wrap on my living room coffee table. Where they will probably stay until October or thereabouts.

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    1. I looked at my pile longingly again this weekend. I can hear myself groaning when the next editions are delivered to my post box. On the positive side, my 18 month old niece likes ‘colouring in’ on magazines so she might make use of them when she comes to visit in August. Good luck with that weeding Dean!

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