If there’s one thing about gardening, it’s that it’s dynamic and unpredictable. Today isn’t like yesterday or the same time last year. So you’d better be ready to react and problem solve! Way back in February, did anyone really believe the meteorologists’ forecast of a wet summer…? Surely they’d be wrong this time? Well, as it turns out so far their predictions have come to fruition. These past two weeks have been on the soggy side. The wettest May in 50 years!
It may feel sometimes frustrating when the weather is less than ideal but when it’s wet outside, there’s time to focus indoors. I’ve sown some flower seeds: Aquilegia and Antirrhinum (Løvemunn in Norwegian) which will be great for bees and other pollinating insects plus provide lovely cut flowers. My neighbour gave me some old Cosmos, Lavender and mint seeds that had been gathering dust in her shed. These seeds were out of date by three years but incredibly many of the Cosmos seeds have germinated already. It just goes to show, you have nothing to lose but just a handful of soil if you just give it a go.
Outside, having a container garden means it’s possible at least to move pots out of incessant rain. However, there may still be a few casualties. For me, it’s been my strawberries that look as if they’ve developed Botrytis, a fungus that arises from moist and humid weather. I’ll try removing the affected parts of the plant and see if that makes a difference.
The tulips I planted last autumn have provided a nice feature though: crisp and statuesque. They’ve taken more time to come out than I expected and I could have done with planting of them in the pots. Not having grown them before I assumed you needed to spread them out as you would in the ground but in containers, you can pack them in a lot more densely and consequently they can make a really impact. Next time I’m going to try making a bulb lasagna, which consists of layering different bulbs all in one pot so that you can get a succession of flowers.
The Euphorbia polychroma in contrast is small in stature but pulls a punch colour-wise with vibrant lime greens and yellows.
On the veg front, my carrot and lettuce seeds have begun to germinate. I think possibly not as many seeds have germinated but time will tell. For a while I’d been worried that the intense rainfall had caused a hard cap on the surface of the soil to form which would have made it hard for any seedlings to push through at all.
The surprise of the moment is this summer squash. I have long since lost the label, so am not sure whether it’s a patty pan or a golden squash. Either way, it’s from the batch of seedlings that are being hardened off and waiting to be transplanted into the school garden. I’d been waiting for a dry day to do it. In the meantime, they bask in the sun when it comes out. I had begun to wonder whether the squashes would end up doing so well as they’d started to look a little pale. Then suddenly yesterday as I checked my plants over in the pouring rain I was greeted by this wonderfully bold flower cheerfully looking back at me!