This year’s failures

Today I am gardening in my own garden for the first time in about a month – and I feel like a failure. I love gardening, but right now there are people who care not a jot about horticulture who have better maintained gardens than mine.

In my defence we are two weeks into the school holidays and I have three children under 10, two of whom have had birthdays in the last month. Plus I have been gardening as a volunteer at Charleston, just not on my own plot.

But rather than wallow in self-pity I’m going to list this year’s failures in the hope that I don’t make the same mistakes next year.

This year I have failed…

… To pick the plums before they rotted on the tree: this time last week we had a glut of plums and then the rains came and they all rotted overnight, along with my dreams of making plum jam. Next year I resolve to pick the plums as soon as they ripen.

… To maintain the lawn, which is now an overgrown scrubby patch of grass complete with its own anthill thanks to our resident Guinea pigs Nibbles and Gracie and the huge trampoline taking up half of our already tiny lawn. In September I pledge to put into practice the lawncare module I studied as part of the RHS principles of horticulture certificate and get aerating, top feeding and grass seed sowing.

… To keep any sort of order in the vegetable patch: the pumpkins have run riot, burying the potatoes and pretty much everything else in their wake. Next year this raised bed is going to be a cut flower patch or possibly a prairie border and the veg can go in containers at the bottom of the garden (until I get an allotment – I have put my name down and by the time I get one the kids will be older and I will have loads of time on my hands – that’s the plan anyway).

… To grow sweet peas from seed: I used to have great luck with sweet peas in my old garden and then I remembered that my mum had given me the seedlings plus they had plenty of room in full sun. This year I have just grown bindweed up pea sticks.

… To rescue my potting shed from the undergrowth: although I do have a fine specimen of Bushius shedus.

… To stop the neighbours’ cat using our sandpit as his own personal latrine

(note to self – put the cover on).

… Or to tackle the small forest at the end of our garden. Can’t wait for the tree surgeon to come in the autumn and shed some light on our garden, quite literally (haircuts only – I love trees really).

Small successes include this trug full of windfalls:

… This little corner to sit and write in the shed at the bottom of the garden:

… And this welcome of Stachys byzantina and Erigeron karvinskianus by our gate – I have to take my pleasures where I can!

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