I thought I might have a bit more time on my hands once I had sent the book off to the publishers but that’s not quite how things have turned out. For a start there’s all the housework that has been a little neglected recently, the mess that is my shed and the area behind it that functions as a general dumping ground for old compost bags, pots with bolted salad leaves and that sort of thing. It has all needed some attention, as has my garden which has had to get on and do its own thing so far this year. So I’ve spent this week reacquainting myself with my borders, plants and paths.
The beautiful summery weather has been bliss. It’s been such a long time since we’ve been drenched in so much warm sunshine after last year’s dismal summer that this has felt like a reacquaintance too. We’re eating outside, the deck chairs have taken up residence and it’s a pleasure to potter about in flip-flops and feel the warmth radiating from every surface. The heat has meant a change in my gardening routine though. This is by no means a complaint. I would love this weather to continue until October and can’t bear to hear, after such a long, cold winter the person in the queue at the supermarket say after only a few days of sunshine, ‘Oh it’s just too hot’. I sigh inwardly as I remember only a few weeks ago the same person complain that we never get a proper summer. For me, gardening takes place early or late in the day now and I retreat indoors when the heat makes working too uncomfortable. Watering sessions at the allotment take the best part of two hours but I’d rather give everything a good soak every three or four days than have to go there every night.
Last year’s cool, dull and wet weather meant my tayberry crop slowly ripened over the course of six weeks providing a regular, and a manageable supply of fruit. This year is completely different. The heat and sun mean the fruits are ripening rapidly and I can’t keep up. And the blackcurrants are dripping in black fruit that need picking too. I think I need to get organised, and quickly, for a mammoth freezing session. Wellyman has been instructed to make some white sourdough bread for a summer fruit pudding and I have plans for some homemade cassis. Maybe we’ve become so used to awful summers but it’s taken me by surprise and I feel completely unprepared.
It also appears that I’m going to be reacquainted with a flower I’ve been eagerly anticipating for some time. About four or five years ago I bought a Trachelospermum asiaticum from a nursery in Cornwall. It was about a foot tall and in flower and it smelt divine. The plan was for it to scramble up the side of my shed and drape itself in a romantic kind of way around my not so romantic looking shed door. I hoped that its deliciously scented, delicate blooms would conjure up images of an idyllic cottage garden retreat rather than my concrete panel constructed shed which I can’t justify the expense of replacing with something much more aesthetically pleasing. Well perhaps I should have done my homework because as I have discovered trachelospermums aren’t the fastest growing of plants. It has taken all that time for it to reach about 5 foot but worse it hasn’t flowered. Nothing, zilch. But then, last night whilst watering, I spotted what looked like flower buds. I’m not getting carried away, I can only see two sets of buds so far, so we’re hardly talking a screen of heavenly jasmine-perfumed flowers but it gives me hope that one day my plan might come to fruition. Although we’ll have probably moved by then.
That’s the problem with plants – they just don’t seem to understand our excitment, nor disappointment when they don’t flower as quick as we’d like them too. Looking forward to seeing this Trachelospermum asiaticum (I’ll be honest I had to google it) in a photo. It’ll be worth the wait 🙂
Hi Welly! Lovely to read your catch-up news… I’m definitely not complaining about this lovely warmth as my Chilean Guava has flowered! (Soooooo excited!!) Most of the plants are looking wonderful, raspberries coming along nicely (only one or two ‘tastes’ so far) but the strawberries gave 2 kg on the first picking! I’ve had to make jam there’s so many of them (no complaints there either, haha!) My routine is the same as yours which I don’t mind as it’s a good excuse to come in for lunch and get some admin work done (or housework as a last resort) but let’s hope there’s no hosepipe ban in the offing, that really would spoil things!! Hooray for British summers!
Lovely that the summer weather coincides with your post-submitting breather – must feel like a real summer holiday! These sunny days are beautiful, if only there were some way to store them up and tap into them during the winter…
I think your Trachelospermum is just a question of right plant – right place. Here they grow very quickly and the perfume is almost overpowering. They love the heat although this year with a little more rain they have flowered for much longer. Enjoy the summer you deserve it.
You are right about the benefits of the slow and steady cropping of soft fruit that we had last year; like you, I fear the the bulk of the currants are going to ripen at once and the raspberries and loganberries are going to take daily picking to keep up with them. Am I complaining? No, I take the weather (and pick the fruit) as it comes..! Must be strange to be free of your book preparation – do you feel as if you have given your child away, now it is at the publishers?
one white sourdough coming up!
A most enjoyable post. I’m not keen on this weather so like you plot early and water all round every few days.
Picking raspberries, enjoying the flowers and seeing lots of butterflies has more than compensated for any discomfort caused by the heat.
I hope that your trachelospermum will have been worth the wait when it does finally flower.
Have a good weekend. xx
Be patient with your Trachelospermum, one day it will surprise you! We have one on our pergola where we walk through to get to the veggies and lately as I have been whizzing by, it stops me in my tracks with its wonderful perfume. It certainly grows and has to have a haircut after it has finished flowering otherwise we wouldn’t be able to get up the path, it was worth the wait!
Those tayberries look like little jewels. I bought a plant last year, but it’s still in its pot at the moment, though it’s got a few berries on it which are slowly ripening, shouldn’t be long until I have my first taste. I’m loving this weather, it makes such a change after the last couple of summers. I’m just hoping that it doesn’t change for a while yet as we go away on holiday to Cornwall next week, it would be lovely to have some nice weather whilst we’re there.
Good to see you posting WW. Glad to read that you have had some time to start catching your breath 🙂
As a newby allotment holder, we were thrilled to have picked our first items yesterday (peas 4 pods). We did feel a bit like Tom & Barbara from the Good Life when we split them between us, but looking forward to the rest of them filling out. Good tip about only soaking them every 3/4 days, going up every night is tiring.
Your growing season must be ahead of ours – last time I looked our tayberries aren’t anywhere near ripe. Mark you, after the sunny weekend, perhaps that will have changed. Loved your picture of them 🙂
Some people are never happy…they just enjoy complaining. For me it just meant… like you…working in the early morning and late evening. Cooler now but still very much Summer here in Ireland.
It’s a bit cooler here now after yesterday’s storms but still feels like summer which is nice. It would be lovely if we could have this through to autumn, obviously with some rain.