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  • Writer's pictureRobin Howison

Where did summer go?

It’s well and truly autumn now. Summer the very wet season that it was has gone and I’m thinking as always of the year that’s been and what to change for next spring and summer

But part of thinking ahead is to look back and enjoy and reflect on what has been. This year was a difficult gardening year. The road in and surrounding land was damaged by heavy rain in mid December. We had 300mls or a foot of rain in just under two days on top of already saturated soil. It took away our road access completely for a week and access for non residents for many weeks. And the rain kept coming week after week. On the farm the calves were almost hidden in grass half way up their bodies. No one can remember a year like it.

In the garden the torrent of rain literally washed through the garden creating a river bed on the driveway and literally removing truckloads of gravel from all over the garden. The plants which were in some places flattened by water actually stood up well initially anyway. But over the following weeks with rain a regular visitor plants that were planted in recent years after increasingly dry summers which had been planted for their drought tolerance began to express their dislike of the conditions. They died one by one slowly over the whole garden. Some older plants that had been happy for years began to die. Even my collection of Hebes showed their unhappiness with conditions As a consequence there are many places for new plants. I will try to make them wet and dry tolerant. The perennials in the old orchard on the other hand loved the rain. Not all but many. Looking back the wet created a lot of work with steps to rebuild and gravel to renew with weed seeds growing in the wet from all the silt moved about while at the same time making it impossible for people to visit the garden through much of its peak. But eventually repairs were made and the garden feels more itself with some very happy plants actually thriving in the conditions. There is still a little of autumn to enjoy and then winter will provide the opportunity to replant ready for a new season.

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