A Little Solstice Solace – The Annoyed Gardener


Maybe it’s simply me, however 2021 has felt like a critical take a look at of our endurance each normally and as gardeners. We began the yr in strict lockdown, having had our Christmas plans curtailed on the eleventh hour. Now it appears not unimaginable that 2022 may start the identical means. At occasions now we have allowed ourselves to think about that the top of our troubles could be in sight, remarking that issues really feel virtually again to regular, just for Covid 19 to provide a brand new, extra virulent variant. Is that this turbulent ‘ought to we? shouldn’t we?’, ‘can we? can’t we?’ state of affairs the brand new regular? Heaven forbid.

Spring was lengthy and chilly, ultimately giving strategy to a lacklustre summer time. Tender crops and treasured seedlings needed to wait within the wings till June earlier than they had been protected to take centre stage. Some crops prospered in cooler situations, others dragged their toes. I spent weeks after which months telling myself {that a} heat spell was simply across the nook, but it surely by no means got here. I missed the ample sunshine hours that 2020 blessed us with. On the allotment, tomatoes had been blighted and courgettes by no means discovered their mojo, but we loved a wonderful crop of rhubarb, beans, potatoes, raspberries and cucumbers. A balmy autumn partially compensated for the sooner chills, endearing the season to me in a brand new means. The mellow months of September and October created the right surroundings for our dahlias and chrysanthemums to flourish. November was suspiciously calm, morphing peacefully right into a sometimes moribund December. Monty Don sums the present month up brilliantly:

December is a dismal month for gardeners. If any of the shards of autumn nonetheless cling at its outset, they’re all discarded by the top. There are leaves to assemble and maybe bushes, and hedges to plant however truculent climate, the shortness of the times signifies that in fact little is requested of the gardener – and little or no given again.

I’ve been reflecting on Monty’s phrases during the last couple of days and conclude that it’s simply as properly December isn’t a extra beneficiant month. We’re all, by various levels, drained, preoccupied and weighed down by the bags we’ve amassed during the last eleven months. We’re too jaded to do a lot apart from stumble fortunately half-conscious in direction of Christmas and New Yr. This month the Beau and I’ve tried to muster enough time and enthusiasm to clear the allotment, plant any remaining tulip bulbs and tidy our workshop. Discovering the power has not been simple and we haven’t gained a lot satisfaction from our labours. It’s higher, I feel, to simply accept that December is a month that has plans for us, and never vice versa. Flow, embrace it or endure it, however don’t combat towards it – you’ll not win. Take management of your life and your backyard once more in January when the festivities are over and a brand new begin might be made.

Therefore right now, on the shortest day of the yr, we must always give ourselves and one another a little bit pat on the again for having made it this far via a turbulent and troublesome yr. Pour a drink, snuggle up, be form to your self and coast via the remainder of the yr as lazily and effortlessly as you’ll be able to. At no different time do our gardens want us much less and our household and pals want us extra. These soiled pots, muddled seed packets, random bulbs and unpruned roses will appear loads much less of a problem in two weeks’ time. TFG.