Among the many questions we are asked in the garden, one of them is “What do you do when it’s raining?”
Indeed, you may well enquire about the amount of gardening which can be undertaken during periods of prolonged rain fall, or when the ground has become visibly waterlogged and the short answer would be “wet weather jobs…, Indoor wet weather jobs.”
‘Wet weather jobs’ are set aside for when all other outdoor gardening activity has become too difficult or counterproductive to perform effectively. Damage to soil structure, compaction and general excessive mess making are all things which are best to avoid when working on borders. Using boards and planks do help to reduce the load and allow access but, eventually, it is better to let the ground recover and dry out.
Here are some recent photographs of particularly waterlogged areas of the garden to emphasize my point.
So, for instance, we might assist our head propagator with ‘potting on’ plants ready to be staged out in the nursery. There is a continuous supply of rooted cuttings, seedlings and rooted through plants needing to be given more growing space in larger containers. Alternatively, ‘Muddy lumps’ dug out from the garden and stored under hessian cloths are split and divided to produce healthy new plants for the garden or plant shop.
In the garden workshop Phil, dismantles and reassembles all manner of ailing garden machinery. He seeks help from our career-ship student John to sharpen the blades on the excellent lawn edging machine. Other times, he will carry out routine maintenance of our cylinder mowers, hedge cutters and other equipment while I use a screeching, table top engraver to make replacements labels for the garden.
Our gardener’s office, quite a small space next door to the machinery shed becomes very busy on rainy days. We wait for a free desk to complete various tasks, emails, or research plants for the garden. Last week Helen was studiously reading up about roses, which may be re-introduced into the garden in due course.
As a matter of interest I have tallied up the rain fall recorded in January this year, which measured a staggering 204mm. Almost three times the total for January 2013, which was 73.5mm.
What we need now is a nice spell of sunshine!