Saturday, 5 September 2009

Same but different II

For the last three years at this time we have been on Greek Islands stifling in heat, cooling off in warm blue waters, eating our fill of feta, relishing retsina and overdoing the ouzo.

For the last three years those precious weeks have been my summer.

Because the truth is, its been three years since we in the North West had any kind of summer and I think this has been the worst of all.
It may be due to the lack of a dog, but I feel as if I have missed out on the sight of flowers growing whether in my garden or wild.
I took this picture last summer, on one of the better days walking with Willow.



A combination of shade, wind cold and wet have done for what is , at the best of times, a difficult garden. Even the nasturtiums have refused.
Its a source of great sadness to me that I can't have rows of delphiniums , a fence of sweet peas or even a lupin.
The odd rose has struggled up but they too have become leggy and spindly.
The height of the house prevents the sun reaching the narrow garden until about 11am, and the row of 60s houses behind the too-high hedge suck it down before 6pm.
This height and narrowness creates a tunnel for the wind that blows off the ridge over the road right through my garden.
If I didn't love my house so much I'd move to one with a better growing space.
All this is bearable in a good summer.
In a good summer I relish the coolness of the old North facing kitchen. The wind is a welcome cooling breeze and to be able to sit in the shade is a bonus.
But it hasn't been a good summer.
Even the slugs have kept a low profile this year.
Remember this?
Its hard to believe its over for another year.
But I don't mind the Winter, especially if its going to be like last winter.

The same wildflowers on New Years Day this year.
So different.

And this one, which I recommend you click on, is for Emma because I love this.

23 comments:

Kim said...

I enjoyed this post so much because we have just come out of winter. I didnt realise just how much I looked forward to the change in season unitl I wrote this 2 weeks before spring. "on the first day of spring my inward breath gives way to a fragrant sigh"

Writing is a great way to let go and you do it so well.

Beena said...

Perhaps you could make a lovely indoor garden of your colorful creations on a quilted background to enjoy all year!

jeanette, mistress of longears said...

Such a very different complaint from mine - In Kansas we suffer through horrid heat, relentless sun and drought. Gardener's water bills are awful, stepping outside, the heat and humidity hit you like an oven, even at 6 am when I walk Ozzie. We regularly exect to see temperatures in excess of 100 degrees F. Frankly, with our humidity, anything over 90 is pretty awful. I've been here 30 years, and in that time, we have had 2 truly lovely summers...never much above 80, plenty of rain, heavenly. This summer was one of them. Next year, when I am frying, I will try to remember this post and be grateful for all the things that grow here...no lupins, however; they hate our heat.

Penny said...

Oh dear, we are supposed to be in Spring here but so far lots of lovely rain but not so lovely wind. We arrive in Europe on the 30th of September and leave the UK on the 22nd of October so I am hoping for lovely weather like all the other times we have been there at this time of the year,l but I am rather afraid it will not be like that this time.
Its a holiday so I dont really mind what the weather does to us.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I know you must still miss Willow dreadfully, especially on walks. I am thinking of you.

Edward is incredibly pleased as our temperatures have cooled off quite dramatically over the last week. It is currently one in the morning here and he's still out in the back garden trotting around by the light of the full moon. I am off to call him in and go to bed!!

Rosie said...

Having lived in Cumbria for 18 years and Lancashire before that, I know EXACTLY what you mean! I've been dreading another winter in our old, cold house, but you've reminded me that there are good things about it too!

Heather said...

Your Greek holidays sound like paradise to me. Even in our bit of the SW we have had three dismal summers in a row, and I gave up long ago on trying to grow lupins, delphiniums, etc. They are just food for snails and slugs. The weather has been even more of a problem than usual this year with warmth too early then cold again, and too much rain. Farmers and growers must have had a nightmare time. I love your photos of the giant hogweed/cowparsley type plants. Their shape is so appealing and they look good even when dead. Perhaps we should just fill our gardens with them and not try to grow other things?!!

Joei Rhode Island said...

Oh, Carolyn....I'm from California where there is no true seasonal change but spring had glorious wildflower shows. Here in New England there was no summer either this year. Just rain more rain and lots of rain. Now that the season is starting to change the temps have finally gotten above 70. I understand about missing summer vacation.
As for Willow...she will always be there with you....rain or shine.

Oh, and dyeing books...I haven't found one that covers both natural dyes and synthetic dyes well ...what are you looking for? Let me know.

alcoholinky said...

oh Jackie, I so empathise with this. we've just had 2 weeks in Cyprus and our first holiday abroad for about 8 years. although it was truly baking what a relief it was to have wall to wall sunshine for 2 weeks. it does your mood good when once again we've hardly had a summer to mention in the Uk

arlee said...

Oh dear, now i feel guilty for having had one of the best summers Calgary has seen in awhile! If i could package some delphs and saskatoon berries i'd send them priority post to you.

Menopausal musing said...

Lovely post. I can understand how you feel not seeing plants and flowers...... I would hate to be in that position. Isn't Emma's work lovely? I have put first post on my replacement blog. Kept same title. Thank you for being so supportive. Perhaps we should syncronize watches and reach for the retsina together? :O) x

Maureen said...

I also feel sad as we go into the Autumn, however lovely it can be, as we are leaving what in England passes for summer, our garden ,tho' not as bad as yours sounds, hasn't been as good this year but I do have some rather lovely Dahlias appearing. My Felt piece will be left dry, just machine felted.

silverpebble said...

Oh Jackie, if only I could send you a little bunch of rudbeckia and a few marigolds and verbenas from my garden. I'm not sure they'd survive the post though! I'm sending you a small thought posy instead. Sometimes the wild flowers can be lovely though as your pictures show - can you face a walk out in that field? Thankyou for your link and kind words. Emma x

silverpebble said...

I just clicked on that bottom picture. Just beautiful - thankyou.

Pomona said...

We have the opposite problem! Our grass is absolutely yellow, and we need rain so desperately! You could try purple cranesbill (geranium) or there is a pretty pink one - they are pretty tough, don't mind shade, and are quite cottagey, too.

Pomona x

Sue said...

I agree - think it is the fact that it's the third in a row that makes it so depressing. It is especially galling when the south/south-east has been baking in sun all summer and because England 'is' London and the south-east, everybody thinks it has been a great summer. I cannot believe it is over - again - and that's it til we have our three weeks of sun next April, which we all laughingly remark might be the only sun we get... again. I think there will be a huge increase in people taking foreign hols next year or even this half term, we are all desperate for some sun. As for us, we are going to the Wye Valley in three weeks... I don't suppose I will need my bikini (not that I would dream of wearing one).

Right I shall end my guest slot now and make room for someone else :-)

Judy Scott said...

Scotland hasnt been any better although at least my very small garden is sheltered ~ but we havent even had many weeds either :) the thought of the summer they promised us did keep me going for quite a while though, I love Beenas idea of a quilted garden in your beautiful vibrant colours! Judy x

Julie said...

The South East has had probably the best of the weather but the Midlands has been colder and wetter than usual. Autumn seems to have come early so let's hope for an indian summer! I do love the umbellifer flowers too, they have such a graceful shape.

maggik1 said...

Oh, wouldn't an Indian summer be good? We can only hope ... I have very little colour in my tiny garden - not that I can see it (the conservatory is piled high with boxes!)And why does it chuck it down every time I go to the tip? (Daily)

Helen said...

I seem to have been waiting for summer to start for months - and now it is definitely autumn already. I am hoping for a sunny October...

Starting college tomorrow...

Joei Rhode Island said...

Ooops! Sorry Jackie...not sure how I managed to do that. Multitasking I'm sure...I'm just getting a bit too old for it. =-)
I'll see if I can manage to add my email to my profile =-)

bad penny said...

I have just found your Blog and am loving it...

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