The only thing that ended this year, was the prolonged spell of dry conditions, that had affected many of us in the UK since March 2010. We had very little rain between 2010 and June 2012, with only the odd wet spell that amounted to very little; including in the winter months. Between March and June of 2010 in Cambridge, we had only 21.1mm of rain, which was roughly only 19% of the average for that period.
The dry period continued like this right through until the early part of this year. For me, the only time that we seemed to have any significant rain was around the May Ball …. thanks for that!
The lack of rain at this time was a major concern, we ourselves lost some well established perennials, the lawns were struggling, everything was suffering from heat and drought stress, as well as us gardeners were struggling. The dry spring had intensified the workload in some areas e.g. the annual bedding, new plantings and the lawns, admittedly we wasn’t mowing as often. We had decided not to irrigate the lawns, but in the beginning we had put some irrigation on just so we could wash in the fertiliser that we had put on earlier in the season.
We very quickly started wishing and praying for more rain, then when the water companies issued a hosepipe ban in most parts of the country, we all started to prepare for yet another hot, dry spring, summer and Autumn/Winter.
Then along came spring 2012 and this happened…..
June (Our temporary road. Laid down because of the rain)
Some might remember this one…. (Sorry- This Garden is now Closed)
You probably thinking I have missed the odd month out …. but I can assure you, it did rained then as well, just don’t have the photos for them months.
“And at last it comes. You hear a patter… you see a leaf here and there bob and blink about you; you feel a spot on your face, on your hand. And then the gracious rain comes, gathering its forces—steady, close, abundant. Lean out of window, and watch, and listen. How delicious!… the verandah beneath losing its scattered spots in a sheet of luminous wet; and, never pausing, the close, heavy, soft-rushing noise.” ~John Richard Vernon, “The Beauty of Rain,” 1863
The prolonged dry spell now seems a distant memory, like with the wet weather at first it was great, then it turned into a serious problem; as for this on-going rain …. this has made it the most challenging year many of us gardeners have ever seen. I do not want to become one of those who constantly bangs on about the weather, but this year it has played a massive part for many people; many of my blogs (this included) have been influenced a lot by the weather conditions. Obviously, the weather has affected some more than others and what has happened in the garden, does not compare to those who have had there homes and businesses flooded this year.
This year has brought us many new challenges in the garden. Many of us can remember years where we have had a lot of rain mixed in with short warm/dry spells, but as for this continual wet weather, with very little chance for us and the ground to recover … this has to have been the most challenging year ever.
The one area that I will be tackling early part of next year is the fungal problems in some of our lawns. This I have dealt with before, but because of the weather conditions of this year this has been a lot worse, especially Rust and Red Thread. Never to much of a problem in recent years but as for this year, Red Thread has taken hold in a couple of our main plots of grass this coupled with the chafer grubs means the grass is not looking it’s best. Thankfully this is not the case in all our lawns, as we have over 37,000 square metres of lawn. It’s the hidden affects that all this rain is having, especially on the larger perennials we have in the garden (i.e. trees and shrubs) is what worries me the most. The bleeding canker and the leaf minor on the Horse Chestnuts for a start, not to forget Phytophthora and Armillaria (Honey Fungus), are all diseases which may become even more widespread due to the adverse weather conditions.
As for next year? Well, we will have to wait and see, not going to make any predictions on that one …. not in this post anyway. All this said, next year is something I am very much looking forward to, the garden will always reward you in some way or another, reminding you why we do this job. As for the weather? You can’t beat it, control it, predict it but whatever it does throw at you … you cannot allow it to get you down (easier said than done). Although if it does knock you down, give it the old V’s up sign, put the kettle on, walk away and let the Elve’s sort it out next winter.
As for the bees … they now have a new home away from any of the flooding, so at least that is one less thing to worry about.
“Look not at the days gone by with a forlorn heart. They were simply the dots we can now connect with our present, to help us draw the outline of a beautiful tomorrow.” ~Dodinsky