Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Summer drubbing...

...happened so fast.

As I lazed on the grass at the End of the Road festival at the weekend, I could see people doing funny arm movements. You know how some people 'dance' to World Music. Yeah, that kind of flailing arm behaviour. But this was to country music (yes, I went to a festival where they played country music, but I promise it was good country music. What do you mean there's no such thing apart from Johnny Cash? I bet you love Dolly when you're pissed. You haven't lived until you've danced to Dolly).

Then I realised they were batting away wasps. I'd almost forgotten what a wasp was, so absent have they been this summer. Then, as I was being bronzed by intermittent rays of unnervingly hot sun, I realised that summer never really came this year. In fact it has been a disgrace.

As Claire describes in her guest post 'Sorrow', tomatoes remain green and no doubt many other vegetables have failed to show what they're made of in gardens across the UK.

Now, the last thing a hapless gardener needs is to have the elements against him. I mean, come on, I'm still mastering how to look after a bloody courgette, the least I can ask for is the basic sunshine to help the thing grow. So it will come as no surprise to anyone that my garden is now starting to resemble one of those homes where they send the SOS squad into after years of neglect. The following pictures may disturb some readers:


Nasty vine killing all around it

In the carnage above you'll see rotten fruit, sorry looking runner beans and blackcurrants and the foliage above? Well, that's what you get if you don't tether your tomatoes properly! And to prove that the elements have it in for me, when I came back from the festival I found this horrific scene:

It's enough to make a grown man take up a smoking habit. Like country music folk do.

Bet you're dancing whilst no-one's looking.

Anyway, I've spent the best part of two days recoiling in horror and despair every time I dare step outside and brave the wind and rain. I'm wasn't actually sure I'd have the strength in me to tackle this without an Indian summer to help.I'm ruing May, when things started to go downhill; ambitions for a bumper summer harvest dented by neglect. In fact  I've been asking where it all went wrong? Am I destined for a life of garden failure. It really strikes at the heart of your being. Where will the doubt end? How can I ever hope to one day raise a family if I can't even raise a runner bean?

Well, as Sophie eloquently described in her guest post 'Love', the garden is a forgiving place. And as my eyes adjusted I spotted hope:

Borlotti beans


Black sunflower
I'll be back in the garden clearing away the debris in no time. I may be hapless, but I'm also stubborn and won't be beaten just yet...


elaine rickett said...

I am not going to offer any words of encouragement - just to say, I would give up if I were you - you aint exactly got greenfingers. Only joking - not!

Hapless gardener said...

I accept, things look pretty awful, but there's no way I'm giving up. It just may take a year or 10 longer than most...and I'm still really proud I made the old apple tree sing again, even if some of the fruit is rotting!!

elaine rickett said...

Sorry - I shouldn't have said those things, even if I was only joking - keep up the good work

Hapless gardener said...

Don't worry, I'm at ease with my haplessness. A friend of mine posted a lovely take on it on her blog today: ( so there I think there is a bit of hope!! Really appreciate that you do comment regularly on my blog, and would very much like you to do a guest post if you have time. Let me know

elaine rickett said...

I am not nearly wacky enough to do a guest post, thanks anyway

linniew said...

In my experience the August garden tends to look like it's been watered with Agent Orange, NO MATTER WHAT.

I have learned the word "courgette" which must be French. Here we call it "zuchini" which sounds Italian. I have noticed Italians also say "courgette" & not "zuchini." Very confusing.

NICE sunflower.

Foxglove Lane said...

Extremely disturbing photos alright, just hope you are not eating any of that brown and mouldy looking stuff. Now am wondering if the latest raspberries are anything to do with you? If so I suppose you should keep away from them as they are amazing and doing very well. Hehe you really are a tease!

Hapless gardener said...

If you look carefully at the photo of the carnage involving my growhouse you'll see plenty of red raspberries on the canes. The ones in the bowl were pre-festival, have been added to the frozen pile and will be served up for breakfast with French Toast. If I stop writing you'll know why..!

I think I'm going to have to start being ruthless and revolve my social life around the garden next summer! Festivals will have to dance to my tune and I may just have to hold one of my own...

The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

My photo
I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.