Normally during the holidays, we head to the beach for ten days and soak up the sun, sea and surf. I lay about on the sand with a good book, generally with some kind of gardening theme and try to relax as I watch my family frolic in the waves. But in the back of my mind things are unsettled. The garden ever present, deep in my thoughts.
How is it faring without me? Is it getting enough water? Is the minder picking things properly? And then of course there is the inevitable storm that rolls through. I don’t know why each year it takes us all by surprise as it does happen every year. I can almost pinpoint the exact memory from each holiday where Hubby the Un-Gardener paces with frustration at the loss of a day or two of his precious holiday time and the kids get cabin fever and start bickering. I’m generally found worriedly glancing out the window wondering if the storm is making its presence felt at home and if so what damage is being wrought on my precious plants.
And then we come home to a jungle, rampant powdery mildew, tomato plants so dense with foliage that blight is a high risk in these humid summer days. The grass has become so long that it is impossible to see where the garden starts and stops. Not forgetting the harvest – the branches are heavy with their bounty and imminent attention is required to take care of it all before it crosses that fine line into ‘too far gone’. But first there is the mountain of laundry to be seen too.
This year we did things a little differently and stayed at home for the most part. It made for a pleasant change, as the harvesting was done when it needed to be done, and I was even seen processing mountains of broccoli in a quiet gap on Christmas Eve. They definitely wouldn’t have waited for the return from our usual holiday. The watering was done without missing a beat and I’ve even managed to keep up with the feeding regimen.
When the soaker hose split, I was able to pop down to the garden centre for a replacement hose, and despite receiving a multitude of gardening related gifts, I still managed to pick up a few extra things for the garden, because it would always seem I need just a few more things for the garden. The cucumbers never really noticed there had been a problem with their water supply at all and didn’t miss a beat producing multitudes of crisp, ever so slightly bendy, yet very tasty cucumbers.
But I think for some things it is better not to watch the goings on. The storm rolled through. I think it is easier to imagine perceived damage, because I can pretend it isn’t quite so bad in the garden as it is wherever we happen to be. Actually watching the garden being buffeted and blown about, bending way further than I’d thought possible is horrifying. It would be foolhardy to race out there and stop the damage, and to be honest there wouldn’t actually be anything I could do. I have to say I wouldn’t want to watch the garden under siege again in a hurry.
So having been at home, in the garden for most of the holidays I still find myself inundated by the abundance of chores the garden has created. The prolific growth seemed to happen before my very eyes. I could see things grow. However for the most part all I could do was watch. I guess it wouldn’t be right to nip out to the garden on Christmas Day and run the mower around, leaving guests between courses, wondering where I’d gone. After all I’d only nipped out for some mint…