Storm and Pestilence

I should have known better than to mention either of the words in the title of tonight’s post as, lo and behold, we were delivered a month’s rain on Friday and there’s been more of the same today. Both times the wet stuff was accompanied by gale-forced winds, first from the north (noisy, but not too troublesome) and then from the south (my worst nightmare). I was up at 2am, 4am and 6am on Saturday morning checking that nothing had been toppled by the monsoon. I then overslept and awoke to a garden strewn with leaves and looking rather tousled, but with no major damage done. Most plants appeared to have enjoyed the soaking, with the exception of the lilies which were hanging their pollen-smudged heads in shame.

Lilium 'African Queen' holds court in her jungle kingdom
Lilium ‘African Queen’ holds court in her rainy jungle kingdom

Cautleya, hedychium and roscoea don’t mind the rain and have so far avoided the attentions of snails. The foliage looks splendid for the lack of chomping, although I don’t take this for granted. Meanwhile vine weevils and caterpillars are doing a good job of wreaking pestilence, nibbling fuchsia leaves and disfiguring dahlia flowers nightly. The best form of control is a midnight patrol, complete with torch and paper in which to squash the ugly bugs. I have tried sprays and soil drenches, but nothing frees me from these two persistent pests like nocturnal hunting.

Cautleya spicata, one of the toughest tropicals I know
Cautleya spicata, one of the toughest tropicals I know

Driven inside by the rain I watched the garden get a good buffeting and wondered why I even bothered trying to sweep the terrace. I neatly organised all the NGS paraphernalia on the dining table in readiness for next weekend before returning to the fray to stake lilies, cannas and salvias. The weather was taking no prisoners and I ended the afternoon soaked through. With luck the weather will mellow though the week and reward us and our visitors with sunshine during our open weekend.

Did you manage to get anything done in the garden this weekend, or did you choose to snuggle up with a cup of tea and a good book instead?

A view of The Watch House garden from the passageway
A view of The Watch House garden from the passageway

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14 thoughts on “Storm and Pestilence

  1. Sorry you received quite so much rain and pest visitors. I moved mulch, did some trimming with the mower, pulled weeds, picked veggies and fruit, and went on a tour of eight gardens in Maine. I’m tired but my gardening sense are on full alert but I’m driving my husband crazy with ‘could we…’ 🙂

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  2. I caught the monsoon in London – fortunately it didn’t get as far as my garden. But we have had rain since lunch time today. Just enough for the garden and now I hope it stops.

    I hope you get those pests under control!

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  3. Be ever vigilant my friend! Whenever I get an invasion of pests, I release the chickens on them for a monitored slaughter.

    I like to play the Jurassic Park soundtrack while I do so. Or, Wagner’s flight of the valkyries. Whatever the soundtrack, the victory is always ours.

    Neem oil is my second, albeit less dramatic, form of attack.

    Godspeed old man!

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  4. Oh FG my heart sank when I read this – all those hours of work and then to have stand at the window and watch the torrents. Looks like the garden made it through OK – it is looking lovely and it will really freshen up those little babies for the ‘big event’! I did rather like James approach to putting on the Wagner – I need this for the sulphur crested Cockatoos to drown our their horrendous ‘screaming’ as they devour the loquat tree in 30 minutes! Ah the joys of gardening.

    So 4 giant holes at the top of the sunken garden and 4 beautiful 220cm Snow Fountain weeping cherries in this weekend for me… looking forward to the spring show.

    all the best..

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  5. Your garden looks so lush and tropical, really magical! I love the gingers, so exuberant. I would love the rainstorm, my ground is like concrete with big cracks in it. But not the gale-force winds. But, my plants are mostly used to the summer dry season, so carry on, but lack the wonderful tropical plants. I’m mainly harvesting vegetables and planting cool-season fall vegetables at this point, as well as fighting moles and voles.

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    1. Ugh! Moles! They are a challenge. I don’t envy you. It’s been cool and wet this week but the gingers seem to be loving it. Lots of flower spikes forming, but will they be out for the weekend? Hope you get some rain soon 🙂

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  6. Would love some of your rain, although not in torrents. Immensely hot here, but given enough watering the tomatoes, basil, and peppers don’t seem to mind . . . .a harvest plentiful enough to share with many friends, which for me is one of the greatest joys of gardening. Your garden looks stunning and should be a treat for all who can visit in person.

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  7. It all looks splendid despite the storm and pestilence. Wonderful to have all that rain but it can stop now. And it is still so windy, I am looking forward to complaining about the heat again.

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  8. Your Watch House garden is looking lush – tropicals love high humidity! So do the beastly slug and snails … Glad to see your dining room table gets put to good use, just the same here in the run up to NGS days. Good luck with the forthcoming open days.

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