A Gardener’s Optimism

Every spring I forget, in my euphoria of the first flowers, how hot and dry my garden gets in the summer months. In my delight at the first signs of life in my garden – a yellow crocus, a snowdrop, an early tulip…

… I forget how everything starts to shrivel and singe in June, the lavender burning and the grass crackling under my feet.

The spring rain brings my garden back to life, and I forget the heavy – but all too short – summer showers trying to flatten peonies, lilies – or the Perovskia below…

And I suppress the fact that it will completely dry up in August – apart from the odd heavy rainshower. I forget, and happily sow my seeds, visit garden centres, weed and prune, divide and dream! My garden looks lovely in May and June, and then WHAM! Scorching sun and drought rapidly take their toll.

I take enormous pleasure in sowing the first seeds, tending them, and watching for them to germinate… almost jumping for joy when I see the shoots of a bean, or the parsley seedlings.

I love discovering something new every spring day, re-acquainting myself with old friends whose names I have almost forgotten. I enjoy potting up geraniums and herbs, and lose myself – gladly – in days of weeding. Joy at the poppies unfurling! Surprise at the rose’s first bloom…

… And wonder at the peonies, nodding their heavy scented heads in the May and June breezes. (And then WHAM! Scorching sun and drought …)

All that pleasure is there – if the gardener is too realistic she will deny herself all of that enjoyment, all of that therapeutic time spent with her hands in the dirt and the insects and birds fluttering over her head. So, like many of you, I will do the same next spring, and enjoy every single minute of it… (until WHAM! Scorching sun…)


August is the time for me to rethink…

The downside 😦

The zucchini have got powdery mildew. My beetroot was either not sown deep enough, or the seedlings had the soil around them washed away in heavy showers in May. 😦  The mice left us just one handful of peas. (They were very nice!) The spinach bolted fairly early. Virtually all the flower seedlings I planted out – as well as the dahlias – were eaten by the snails.


The chard is almost ready for a third harvest, the beans are wilting but producing slowly, and the zucchini were plentiful for about four weeks. The rocket and salad leaves were amazing all through May, June and most of July. The pumpkins look promising, as long as the slugs and mice keep away.

And my basil is FABULOUS!!!

What on earth am I complaining about! 😀

36 thoughts on “A Gardener’s Optimism

  1. What a wonderful post. My garden looks great April and May…but with June come the rains that absolutely destroy my peonies…and from then on it starts to look a little ragged around the edges. The daylilies come in July and try to perk the place up a bit but even they finally turn to dry stalks. At the moment I’m thinking I’d better pull out the summer squash plant… I think it’s given as much as it can give…the weather now s not helping with the new squash that try to form as it is truly hot. I try not to look at my garden for a week or two through the Dog days… but have noticed that the beets are about due… and like you, I’ve been blessed with meal upon meal, and spices for others, that have given me joy through the whole wrestling match with weather, insects, groundhogs, etc. that make gardens something you really want to defend. Next year I keep promising myself I’m sticking to marigolds! “Famous last words!”

    • LOL! Every year I say “Next year I will not bother with…”, and then I buy the seeds… The nights here are cooler now, and the drying winds have dropped, so perhaps things will perk up again soon! Two of squash plants went yesterday… but there are still a couple of tiny zucchini hanging on! Thanks for your comment, I can see you know just how I feel!

  2. Wonderful garden! I’m so jealous of your basil. Mine didn’t do so well this year because the large tree outside my balcony grew too much and is blocking out a lot of sunlight.

      • Yeah, mine is doing alright enough, but it doesn’t get the large, beautiful leaves that sweet basil is known for because of the lack of light. It tastes and smells just like it should, luckily. Lol. I just wish mine would look as impressive!

  3. This truly is such a wonderfu post, Cathy. Well stated, well illustrated. While I don’t have a garden anywhere close to the proportions of yours, I do manage to coax a few flowers and other plants into growth, and it is an absolute thrill for me when I see those first signs of life in the spring. At those times I feel connected with the ancients, whose lives were truly governed by the seasons, and I appreciate the thrill and relief that they must have felt when they saw their food appear from the earth, once again.
    Congratulations on a wonderful crop of veggies, flowers, and herbs. It looks like there may be a pesto post somewhere in the future…!

    • Thanks for your lovely comment Robin! Yes, that connection to the earth and the seasons is now an important part of my life. Pesto will definitely be coming soon – we have it a couple of times a week, but I still haven’t got round to taking a photo! Thanks again Robin, and have a good day! 😀

  4. Cathy I think we all needed this post. We will always have the good and bad in life and the garden. We learn, we lament a little and we move on grateful for what we have. Every year is a new time in the garden, never knowing what will happen. Like life it is never the same. Thank you for the lovely reminder…there is nothing really to complain about…

    • And thanks for your lovely comment too, Donna! I will show some more downsides of my garden in future, to keep everything in perspective… and to remind me to appreciate all the little good things out there too! 😀

  5. Dear Cathy, I believe Donna´s philosophical comment is very true… and I think nature and garden
    are so worthy things in our life.
    I know how you feel, but…let us appreciate the good!

    “Ärgere Dich nicht. dass der Rosenstrauch Dornen trägt,
    sondern freue Dich darüber, dass der Dornenstrauch Rosen trägt.”
    Arabisches Sprichwort

    Have a lovely day, Cathy!

    • Very true Elisabeth. I’ll translate: Arabian saying “Don’t be annoyed that the rose bush bears thorns; be happy that the thorn bush bears roses”! Have a lovely day too, Elisabeth!

  6. I did the same yesterday lol taking photos of Cosmos,summer squash,green beans etc. just documenting growth around me 🙂

  7. It’s always a combination of good and not-so-good…I’ve given up on spinach in the spring, and all the lettuces have bolted before the next batch was planted. But the beans look wonderful, the tomatoes are nearly ready, and my bug-riddled zucchini is still growing. 🙂

    • I shall try sowing some spinach for an autumn harvest instead. I too am glad of what I have harvested this year. And the many new lessons learned! 😀

  8. If gardening was as easy as we wish for there would be no sense of achievement when we finally succeed! Mother Nature will always win so I try to work with her… even when I don’t agree with the weather she brings! The basil and butternut look lovely!

  9. You´d need some kind of shade that lets exactly the right amount of sun through and is invisible (so that one could still see the flowers) and an automatic sprinkler system which also keeps away snails, mice and other vermin. What a dream…

    • It certainly is – uplifting and meditative, as well as good exercise with all that fresh air, and it keeps the mind active too! Whatever produce we get is just the reward for trying!

  10. Oh, how true! My plants are looking pretty bedraggled here too, but I’m trying to save up the feeling of all this glorious heat for when temperatures hit minus forty in the winter! 😉

  11. Haha! I am glad to know this happens to gardeners around the world! I always underestimate the weeding I will have to do! I have been walking through my garden evaluating the hits and misses too, it will always look better next year ;)!

  12. Pingback: Across the Blogoverse | My Life In Color

    • Thanks Jabbear! So many people have experienced the same battle this year, and it really helps me too to know that I’m not alone! Let’s hope we have a perfect autumn instead (with rain!), and there’s always next year… 😉

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