Reading not Gardening

I have too many excuses for not gardening at the moment and every single one is driving me to despair.

It is too windy.  The wind has been whipping up a frenzy across the garden.  Not enough to cause damage, but enough to be annoying and make the gardening conditions a little unpleasant.  On its own this could be something to push through and garden in the face of the wind, feeling the exhilaration of its gusts brushing though my hair as I weed and harvest.

It's too windy
You need to take my word for it but this whirly gig was positively whizzing

But it is also cold.  It isn’t supposed to be.  We are less than two weeks away from summer.  It is not supposed to be like this.  My lily white legs should not be still blinding people, they should be in a loving relationship with the sunshine and my knees should be being sun-kissed daily as they are adorned with a pair of shorts.  And don’t get me started on my toes, they are more often than not fully encased in the warm embrace of socks!  Combine cold with windy and it is becoming unpleasant for the average gardener.  As a keen gardener there is still a chance of gardening going on.

gloomy weather and pea flowers
This is not an almost summer sky

However the boffins at the weather office are telling me five of the next ten days will be drizzly, soggy and decidedly wet.   I’m keen, but we have to draw the line somewhere.  I’m keen not crazy, and my sunny days will come.  They have to.  The very boffins that are currently raining on my parade are also spreading dire warnings that El Nino will bring drought.  I’d love to know who this Mr Nino chap is and why he was invited in the first place if he isn’t going to play nicely.

Yard Long Runner Bean Seeds
Well they won’t grow anywhere near a yard long if I don’t plant them

I could just take a deep breath and head out there.  I still have beans to plant.  I really don’t like beans all that much and have been quite happy to blame the delay on the weather.  In reality it has nothing to do with the beans or the weather.  We just need to eat more leeks so I can clear the bed so I can plant my beans.  And I have some interesting ones this year – some Yard Long Runner Beans.   Guess what we are having for dinner?  I understand leek freezes well too.

Clean hands and nails
These are not the fingers of a keen garden in the throes of spring

The thing is I’m still feeling a little under the weather in more ways than one and as much as I would love to get into my increasingly overgrown garden and mow, weed and dig to my heart’s content despite the weather, it would be foolhardy and would result in being out of the garden even longer.  While MS is my disease of choice and doesn’t ordinarily bother me much.  I just make the most of it, and have a certificate to prove it.  Did I tell you I was awarded Person with MS of the Year?  I like to think of it as my best use of a disease award.  You can’t let things like this hold you back, you have to think of ways to allow them to lift you up.

I’m not one to sit on my sofa doing nothing, feeling sorry for myself and moaning about the weather.  I’m sitting on my sofa, moaning about the weather and filling my brain with all things gardening by reading about gardening.  You never stop learning when you are a gardener.  If you think you know it all then you are kidding yourself.

Old Gardening Book
Old knowledge is often called wisdom for a reason

Recently I picked up some old books at a book fair, and despite the glowing recommendations of all sort of lotions and potions such as DDT which has ‘proved to have considerable possibilities as an insect killer… ’ and Calcium Cyanide ‘which is deadly to insects and, incidentally, to human beings and domestic animals as well,’ to name but a few – the basic knowledge, techniques and skills don’t change.  A solid foundational guide can be found within the dusty old pages.

You really can’t beat a great magazine on a gloomy day
You really can’t beat a great magazine on a gloomy day

But I’m a modern girl and love beautiful glossy images and while old school is kind of cool, I also want to stay abreast of all the latest thinking from the gardening world.  So I’m alternating between The Amateur Gardener by A.G.L. Hellyer from almost a century ago and the New Zealand Gardener magazine from about three weeks ago.   While I’d love to recommend A.G.L. Hellyer as a great read, I suspect it is out of print.  The NZ Gardener on the other hand is readily available for anyone and as I’m an on a bit of a mission to encourage everyone to pick up a spade and grow some food, then a subscription for you or your friends is a great place to start.  Check out  Seriously, if I can grow food – anyone can.

Coming again soon – with a bit of luck I’ll be in the garden again before summer gets here.

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

12 thoughts on “Reading not Gardening

  1. You are funny. We are in fall headed to winter. I am living vicariously through you to experience spring. The pouring rain kept me in today and I empathize with you. Gardening requires we are both patient and impatient at the whim of nature. I am not always compliant.

  2. Many thanks for this winter is coming and I have a palm to wrap up and three cannulas to dig up and bring into the green house be snow falls later on in the morning so once coffee is drunk and emails finished I be out their trying to do all I can god bless

  3. Sometimes it’s nice to allow yourself a bit of a break. I think you will enjoy the Yard Long beans. They did well for me in the hot humid summer of North Florida. Honestly, if your soil is still a bit cool, I’d wait to poke them in the ground anyway, unless you’re afraid of a short summer. Enjoy the reading!

    1. Hi Sarah.Thanks for the encouragement. Spring seems to be running about 4-6 weeks behind what is considered normal. Let’s just hope autumn is the same so we can make up for lost time! Sometimes the first frost can come in April and sometimes it waits until June. So who knows!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  4. Sarah

    I have just ‘discovered’ both WordPress and your blog! Just wanted to say I love your honest writing style and I can completely sympathise with your current ‘wind’ problems. I live in a relatively sheltered part of the UK, but for the last couple of weeks we have had repeated gale force winds and it is playing havoc with my autumn shut down plans!

    Hopefully the next 10 days will pass quickly and without too much bad weather and you can look forward to getting on with your spring planting. I have a whole Autumn and Winter to endure before my Spring plans can start so in the meantime I will grab my pile of plant catalogues and look forward to reading your blog with interest!

    Good Luck!


    1. Hi Caroline. So lovely to hear from you. We had a huge storm over the weekend so there was no gardening to be done. I’m hoping to get a little something done today in a window of sunny before it packs up again. Enjoy your catalogues – every page is jam packed with the hope of a new season.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  5. My dad was a horticulturist, so I inherited a few of his books from the 1940’s and ’50s. They’re a lot of fun. Like you, I think there is always something to be learned from books…and Google, and I love a good magazine as well. I too am on the couch, but in my case recovering from tendon surgery. It’s really been hard not being able to walk in the garden, let alone work in it.

    MS is a cruel disease with it’s own agenda. I hope giving in to rest means that you’ll be up and at ’em sooner than later.

    Darn that crazy weather!

    1. Hi Alys. The old books are great fun, but the basic knowledge is pretty reliable. Some things don’t change.
      I hope you are back on your feet soon, it can be so frustrating to not be able to do what you want to do. I’m still taking it easy, just a little bit at a time for fear of a turn for the worse, but the garden is such a restoring place, so you can’t really keep me out of it for long!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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