HAPPENING a little later than past years, nature is now ‘sprinting’ past me and my best endeavours.
It happens every year, but as I say, usually a bit earlier in the season. I start off feeling ‘in control’ and a little smug about how nice all ‘my’ gardens look and then suddenly nature shows me a clean pair of heels as the growth becomes jungle-esque, watering takes up early mornings and late evenings and work seeps into weekends.
I have learned that the secret is to keep a cool head and let nature streak ahead. I, and all gardeners, will eventually catch up and even get back in the lead – even if it does take until the winter to do so.
All you can do now is ‘all you can’. Try to support tall herbaceous plants – we will get heavy downpours at some stage, which will flatten the lofty growth. That also happens every year. If you haven’t already staked make sure you use the plant supports that go around the plants, as they won’t grow through frames now.
Or get creative with old garden tools – I keep my ‘retired’ favourites to use as plant stakes, either as single supports or by tying string and/or netting between them .
Keep ‘floppy varieties’ off of paths and steps to keep ‘tidy’ access, tie in climbers, keep watering, water even more, keep grass mown – whether it is whole lawned areas or just grassed paths – and most importantly try to make sure you actually make some time to just sit in the garden and enjoy it.
One of my ‘design nags’ is to get seating in the garden. I point out a good place for a seat of some sort and the clients will respond with ‘but I don’t sit there’ – no, but if you have a bench, hammock or any form of chair there then you will. I don’t think I’ve ever known such wide range of garden furniture to be available and some of it very reasonably priced.
My own ‘treat’ is a lovely big waterproof beanbag which can stay outside and is usually commandeered by Yogi. There is also a huge range of fire pits to choose from and they will encourage you to get outside in the garden in the evening too.
Make sure you are stocked up with Avon’s Skin-So-Soft to keep the midges away. This dry oil body spray used to be the best-kept secret of the SAS and Scottish fishermen but now is widely recognised as one of the most effective insect repellents, to the point of actually being listed as such on some websites. Avon claims that four bottles are sold every minute. Make sure you buy the original formula, as the others definitely aren’t as effective.
At the risk of making you groan, with Bank Holiday and the longest day is less than a month away – so get outside and enjoy your garden – or a green space–whilst you can.