Geranium versicolor seedling, Veddw copyright Anne Wareham

It really has felt like a continual nightmare. There are  just the odd moments which are like the brief waking up from a nightmare, when you realise it’s not real, before getting dragged back down into the nightmare’s pit.

I mean – this summer in the garden. But it has been real – truly a nightmare. Relentless rain.

I don’t so much miss the pleasures of gardening – I could always manage without them. But I have mourned the loss of the pleasure of being in the garden, enjoying the garden. I go out there cautiously to mow and the mud bleeds through the grass behind me, and I wonder if I had better leave well alone. Jeff wisely refuses to cut the top of the hedges, because the dead clippings will cling and disfigure them, so they look bedraggled on their tops too..(sides look great, thanks J.)

The paths are like ice – lethally slippery. If it had ever been like this before I would have gravelled all of them. But it wasn’t and, too late, I haven’t.  Every time we open the garden or have a coach party here I am terrified someone will slip. I hate that they have to take such care when they should be enjoying themselves. I hate it when I slip and nearly fall and then hate thinking of our visitors doing that.  I hate it when coach parties come, having pre booked so stuck with it, and it pours with rain all the time they are here. Though their brollies bobbing round the garden do look fun.

Geranium copyright Anne Wareham

Plants loll over the paths, wetting everyone who passes and branches, weighed down by the rain, obstruct paths that I cleared yesterday, or drip on people.

I hate it when Jeff and Ian come and work in the pouring rain, getting sodden and cold. They did that today – and they still do excellent work. Jeff restored my osmanthus lumps in the front garden to sharp from saggy. Last week it was the hornbeam tunnel – which is a challenge at the best of times. Ian cut vicious holly and cleared it up, weeded (when does anyone ever weed here!!! Wonderful!) in amongst the wet plants. Miserable. The result of the hedge cutting and weeding is at least that the essential shapes which I love are there, and this is a consolation, so I am so very grateful for this small mercy, so hard won.

Then the sun came out. It suddenly feels as if I may have a garden again instead of a nightmare. In two minutes I can’t remember just exactly how oppressive and miserable the garden was half an hour ago. It sparkles. Time for a drink out there, with a toast to those who have suffered out there today. Thanks you two!

Hosta walk, before Ian removed the dead flowers of the nectascorum. Copyright Charles Hawes

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