|Willow Garden is a series exclusive to the Earthly Comforts blog only.|
|Everything always takes time.|
|The following two to three months will see changes for Willow. I should hear later today or tomorrow about the allotment, but l believe all is looking good for Suze and l. But we still have to await the fact that plot 17# is to be ours. |
Everything takes time.
Everything always takes time. Such is life. Sometime this week, Suze and l will be stepping foot into the plot to configure what needs to be done first.
The Allotment will then become a series – The Allotment Plotters. Acquiring the plot, however, will allow for significant changes to be introduced to Willow. Long overdue changes. Welcome changes. The garden can become more of an ornamental and, to some degree, an unassuming garden yet relaxing garden.
The worm farms will always be here until the time l can secure a building to bridge the gap between active hobby and business. That’s the problem – you are not a business but you are nearing the point of no longer being merely a hobby – the limbo lands.
|We are in autumn, and whilst the intense heats of a few weeks back are behind us, it’s not yet freezing, thankfully. I feel l had been suffering from heat exhaustion from mid-June to later August. As much as l love dry heat, the British humidity was slowly killing me and leaching energy levels from my already aching body.|
It’s still surprisingly warm, and last night we had rain storms which were very welcomed, but it’s not the weather that recovers ground overnight. We need to get rain and lots of it.
I never thought l would reach the point of saying, ‘l need cooler weather!’ But this year has proven for me especially to be the summer of discontent.
Even with the heat, the garden fared okay, although earlier dreams and visions of great colour were never realised. Gary mentioned a lack of bees and other pollinators in his garden this summer, and l can somewhat understand that.
Willow still enjoyed bees and bumblebees, l saw very few butterflies, but l didn’t not see any. It was just very few. But more than last year, the bush was doing what it is supposed to do. The butterfly bush was enjoying its first season here and produced some lovely flowers, which are still displayed.
I didn’t get the beautiful spilling over flower effect from the hanging basket, but this was down to two main reasons – 1] the blue tits and the crows stripped the lining out from the baskets, and 2] with that, the planted seedlings were stripped away as well. The baskets also proved inadequate as they did not retain the water as much as they should have and had to be watered daily.
But they still managed to produce some lovely begonias and fuchsias, which are still in flower. The season started with eight hanging baskets, but the grouting gave way in the brickwork where the hanging baskets were affixed, and half of them tumbled to the ground. This meant that the baskets had to be worked on again but stayed on the tables. No flowers, but huge surpluses of herbs survived!
The baskets will not be used again here, but they might be taken to the polytunnel at the allotment and be planted differently inside and undercover.
Now we are overrun with certain herbs, many of which will be cut back and repotted to be taken to the allotment or disposed of into the compost. Willow only needs certain herbs here that we use with immediate cooking, like bay, some sage, Rosemary, and thyme.
The rest will be extracted from the garden.
We didn’t ‘not’ have any flowers or flowering herbs. They were just scattered throughout the garden and not in any specific location. Certain experimental growings, like the Mallows and the Clary Sage, did very well.
The white wall roses have had a great season but the pink French roses not so much. Both rose bushes will be completely cut back this year.
The hydrangeas performed well until the severe heat of July and August when they suffered serious foliage burnings and never truly recovered from the trauma. The orange blossom grew well but didn’t produce any flowers like last season.
Many of the shrubs l noticed flowered much earlier in the season as they became confused with the temperatures. Many of the season’s pollinators also experienced climate confusion. This would certainly explain poorer and lower numbers.
There are many reasons for decreased numbers ranging from habitat destruction and loss to pesticides used by farmers. Climate change and new warming temperatures, especially in some of the northern parts of the UK, would tremendously impact many pollinators.
I remember reading an article recently that cited losses of up to a third of bees and hoverflies and also discussed the increasingly worrisome levels of air pollution. That alone can cause stress to certain species and create further confusion in their navigation systems, meaning they struggle to find suitable crops to pollinate, forage and gather from. Air pollution disguises the scents of the flowers.
It is a very worrying time.
One of the other reasons for the absolute need for an allotment is so that we can grow right across the board of crops meaning not just vegetables and fruits. Still, wildflowers and flowers and herbs, and weeds desperately need designated areas. Anything that can encourage a diversity of life in the garden is a must.
Suze and l have discussed that we will grow strawberries, blueberries, and the Cape gooseberries in the allotment and no longer attempt them here in Willow. There are already present red, white and blackcurrants, blackberries, gooseberries and strawberries [albeit older plants], figs, apples and pears that l noted whilst l was there on Sunday, so there is quite a vibrant diversity of fruitiness already there.
So although we had some colour here, we still had a lot of vibrant greenery, which always makes the garden look healthy. Once we have the allotment up and running, Willow will take more of a backseat and only have a very slim presence of colour growing.
It has to become more manageable especially given the overall size of plot 17# and, more importantly, what will be down there that will require a lot of our attention.
Chickens, composting, worm farms, water collection and growing maintenance, are a lot of hard work, especially as there will be the main bulk of the worm farms still present in Willow. This means that the garden has to be not as time-consuming.
So we will not be looking at lots of additional plantings here. 40% of what is already growing here will move out down to the plot, leaving just the bare basics, and the rest will be what was here, to begin with.
So between now and l would say end October, Willow is going to really change.
|Plenty of greenery in the way of shrubbery, herbs and bush.|
|I know l’ll be pleased to be able to slim down the contents of this coal scuttle shed.|
|Thanks for Reading – See you next time.|