Sometimes I ask myself why I bother gardening…. Alternative title: A joyful return from holiday.

Having a holiday in the middle of the growing season is possibly the craziest thing that happens to gardener.  But we all do it. – Well most of us.  We set up irrigation systems to make things easy for the minder and offer any veggie that come ripe to the temporary caretakers of our seasons work.

The pumpkins continue to grow rampantly
The pumpkins continue to grow rampantly 

But the only person who is truly passionate about a garden is the one who sowed the seeds.  A casual garden guardian will water as per instructions and remove veggies that look like those in the supermarket, however there is more to gardening than this.  Although it is the best you can do in the circumstances and off you go on holiday with the constant thought rattling around in the back of your head as you lie on the beach “I hope my garden is alright.”

My poor wee hazelnut tree
My poor wee hazelnut tree – struck down in it’s prime

We returned to some pretty prolific growth and it is this I use to count my blessings so the horror of neglect doesn’t break my heart too much.  A well-meaning helper accidently took out a hazelnut tree in an attempt to clear the orchard of the weeds.  But the sight of all the pear and plum trees with the mankiest of leaves that have been completely destroyed by a pear slug was too much to bear.  If you have ever come across this nasty beasty you’ll know what an ugly slimy, disgusting creature it is, and it has ruined my trees.  I should have been there.  I could have prevented it.  I could have sprayed at the first sign.  I would have saved them from such brutal destruction.  But shoulda-coulda-woulda is of no help.  I just have to get stuck in and spray now and pray the fruit on the trees will make it to become fully ripe without the leaves to provide the trees with nutrients and to some degree hide the fruit from the birds.  The good news is the apples are ok and the peach leaf curl is noticeable by its absence.  Blessing one and two in the orchard.  I guess things are equal.

This is as dreadful as it looks...  I think it needs to come out
This is as dreadful as it looks… I think it needs to come out

The veggie patch is not free from problems, although the biggest problem is perceptual.  The grass is overgrown and so the whole thing just looks like a disaster.  A quick mow should sort this – once I get over my tragic sadness.  I mean the poor kale – it’s been decimated by some kind of leaf miner and it’s beautiful frond-like leaves look like they have been dragged through a hedge backwards.  They are definitely not edible and we haven’t even had so much as a baked chip from them.  If I was there I could have stuck out some sticky yellow traps and prevented the disappointing destruction.

The peppers are actually thriving
The peppers are actually thriving

The rest of the garden isn’t actually that bad, but please allow me this moment to wallow in my melodrama as I mourn the loss of the vitality of living things that I brought into existence and failed in my duty to provide adequate care.  OK that is being a bit over dramatic, but when it is added to the final disaster of a years’ worth of produce accidentally defrosted in a freezer, you can begin to understand why I began to toy with the idea of hiring a bulldozer to “take care” of the lot so I would be spared from further heart break.

The tomatoes are still healthy - even if they are reluctant to give us any tomatoes
The tomatoes are still healthy – even if they are reluctant to give us any tomatoes
At this point in time there is nothing wrong with the corn - in fact it looks amazing
At this point in time there is nothing wrong with the corn – in fact it looks amazing

But the tomatoes have been slow to grow this year and so I haven’t actually missed a single rosy red orb, the peppers and corn are looking amazing and are a sight to behold.  The carrots are ready and the cucumbers are going great guns and I have flowers.  Loads of beautiful flowers.  All is actually ok with the world, especially when you have flowers.

I have gorgeous dahlias...
I have gorgeous dahlias…

Good things always come from things that are bad or sad.  I shall buy a new tree and I shall plant it not just to replace it, but also to remember my Nana who after 95 wonderful years left us yesterday.  Gardens are good for things like that.

...  and I haven't missed the blooming of the Christmas lilies which are running a little late and have enough flowers to give off that amazing scent, despite being decapitated by a rugby ball!
… and I haven’t missed the blooming of the Christmas lilies which are running a little late and have enough flowers to give off that amazing scent, despite being decapitated by a rugby ball!

Come again soon – Like a phoenix my garden shall rise from the ashes of holiday neglect.

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

27 thoughts on “Sometimes I ask myself why I bother gardening…. Alternative title: A joyful return from holiday.

  1. Loved your flowers, so sad on the bugs and such. Your corn, peppers and pumpkins look very good. I would say from your picture that the tomatoes look like they are over watered, which would explain why they aren’t giving you any red tomatoes right now. Good luck with the rest of the growing season. Makes me want to start thinking about starting the seedlings here.

    1. Hi Lucinda. Thanks for your advice with the tomatoes. I think the main reason for the delay is the spring was colder than normal and so the plants are just a bit slow to get started. The lillies are normally finished by now but have only just started. Most of the garden had just sat there throughout November and December not doing anything and then it warmed up and all of a sudden everything just took off. There are heaps of green tomatoes and loads of flowers and the boffins are predicting a long hot summer from here on so I’m sure I’ll get my glut!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  2. Have you used the old organic method of dealing with the pear and cherry slug, throwing fire ash onto them? It certainly dehydrates the little buggers! Our trees are suffering as well :(. Sorry that you took some losses while you were away but now you are back you can keep an eye on everything and your holiday losses will be far outweighed by your New Years gains 🙂

    1. Hi Fran. I was going to spray the fruit trees with pyrethrin as it is supposed to be organic, but it is really windy today so it’ll have to wait. Its a bit like shutting the door after the horse has bolted – the damage is quite severe! It’s amazing how fast things happen – good and bad – in the heart of summer.
      But things are looking up – I’ve mowed and that always seems to restore a sense of order. I just need to carry on removing “the losses” and everything will look healthy again.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely words. Sometimes the bad things overwhelm the garden and then you can’t see the good things. It won’t take much to get it back in order – I guess its just one of the hazards of having Christmas in the middle of the growing season.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  3. Your tomatoes look very “full”. Do you remove the laterals? Perhaps cut a few leaves away to allow more sunlight in?

    1. Hi Tracey.Thanks for your advice. I normally remove the laterals and the lower leaves and before we went away I went over them all quite hard, but the conditions must have been perfect tomato weather because I came home to an overgrown tomato bed. It is on the list for tomorrow to remove leaves and laterals and tie things in where they have become wayward. Hopefully this will improve the fruit production to the point that in a week or so I’ll be complaining about having too many!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

    1. HI Janette. The winds are shocking. While I was out there gardening, putting things right, the wind wrecked havoc on my corn which went from standing nice and tall to being on a 45 degree lean. I’m off to get some windbreak to stop it happening again. The cobs don’t fill out properly if the stalk is on a lean (experience speaking!)
      I hope your garden survived the wind with little or no damage.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

    1. Hi there. Sounds like a great idea. I think I need to come up with a few strategies like sowing and planting later and popping back a couple of times from the beach (we don’t go far). I just need to remember all of this next spring and not get carried away with enthusiasm!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  4. Sorry to hear about your pears and kale. But those Dahlias must warm the soul, they are beautiful.

    Regret is a hard thing to harbor for a gardener, things can (and will) go wrong, even when you are vigilant. And then things go right… 😉

    We are very jealous of the corn and tomatoes you have coming…at least 6 months away from us here….

    1. Hi there. Thanks for your supportive comments. The corn isn’t looking as splendid as it did because a strong wind has been blowing – pretty much since I took the photo and it is all on an angle. I now have to find a way to get them back on their feet without destroying them.
      Never a dull moment in the garden!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

    1. Hi Jean. Thank you for your kind words. I am slowly whipping the garden back into shape and before I know it I would have forgotten all about the neglect. Working in the garden is also a wonderful place to be when you are sad.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

    1. Hi Norma. Thank you for your kind thoughts.
      I spent a large part of today out in the garden pruning and tying in the tomatoes. It turned out to be a much bigger job than I thought. That’s the problem with going on holiday in the growing season – you can’t just take care of the tomato training as it needs it, so it grows unchecked.
      It looks a lot better now and there are loads of green tomatoes just waiting to turn red.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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