Here we are in July, and already I’ve said ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to some of my favourite plants. Iris, foxgloves and clematis, all turned up to show off their frills and colours. Yet within a few weeks the petals are worn, the colours have faded, leaving them to retreat back into the undergrowth, not to be seen for another year.
Precious moments in the garden are fleeting, but are well worth the wait. As the pastel colours fade, the garden has begun to breathe out, and with it the hotter colours have started to arrive: heleniums, echinacea and those gentle giants, sunflowers. Back in early May, the garden was fresh and neatly pruned, now in the clutches of full summer, it has entered its ‘hippie’ phase. Things are looser, wilder and generally everything is looking a lot more relaxed.
On the allotment I’m starting to enjoy some quality harvests from the peas, garlic, and brassicas. But there are also areas of disappointment. A couple of the plots look battle worn, carrying scars from previous skirmishes with pests.
This week Agent Soph and myself are off to the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. Whist I’m really looking forward to a day immersing myself in all things horticultural, I know I’ll have that nagging thought whilst looking on at the splendid show gardens, ‘Hah! You want to try and achieve that look on my allotment!” My point is that all gardens and allotments have scars and blemishes. Show gardens are just show gardens. Real gardens are open to everyone and everything. There will be slug raids and ant ambushes which will affect your precious space and most prized vegetable or shrub.
So I say to you, troubled gardener. Do not feel bad or ashamed of those slug-ridden cabbages! Don’t hide away your aphid-eaten runner beans, and as for that mildew on your troubled clematis, let it run amok.