“The Night Comes Down”

I’m pretty sure that’s a title of a Queen song…my dear Cousin, who shares my borderline obsession, says they’re better than Shakespeare for offering suitable sayings! Oh dear, aren’t we sad…

In this case, referring to the approach of the Shortest Day, the Winter Solstice. Climatically this is the start of Winter, despite being nagged by people that Winter starts on 1 June, I find this fact to be the truth. Just as Summer really starts on the longest day in December. It makes Winter so much more bearable, when, as it starts, the damned short days start to stretch imperceptibly on a daily basis.

Obviously our Winter days are incredibly long compared to those in really Northern or Southern locations…for instance the Poles! Northern and Southern Poles that is, although I’m sure the days are also relatively shorter for the people in Poland. Even those friends and family in the South Island of our own country have a shortest day nearly an hour shorter than us. However, ours are short enough for me, especially on a drear day like today.

Still, frosty Winter mornings…the stuff that dreams are made of. Sadly we aren’t having many of these this Winter…

My daughter has just told me I can’t complain about the amount of rain we had in the night, as we’ve just enjoyed an unprecedented 10 fine days! I beg to differ, having just been reminded of what life can be like without non stop rain! Things dried up really well, with some nice frosts to help things along, and gardening suddenly felt like fun again.

Now however we have descended back to the non stop rain and flooding. It doesn’t take much to cause a flood these days, but we’re getting much anyway. Bla bla bla weather!

To be honest there’s not much else to talk about at the moment. We’ve had to start feeding out to the cattle, which causes mind blowingly deep mud with the tractor…the buggies can hardly get around the hills. Garden tasks are carried out in brief finer spells. I bought a ton of lime to dress all the gardens with. I think the constant flooding has leeched all the nutrients and soured our already acidic soil further, giving rise to the buttercup takeover. This isn’t something one can do in the rain as the lime quickly turns to sludge and then concrete! I’m also fertilising all the roses etc with a healthy dollop of sheep manure and chemical fert. Hoping for some early Spring growth to happen, to compensate for the lack of Autumn action.

I recently was reading my garden diary from last year (it’s very hit and miss, but interesting none the less) and at this time complaining of the lack of Autumn basal shoots on the roses…it had been too dry…So that makes 2 seasons running where the roses have not put on any growth in the Autumn. It’s no wonder so many of them are looking “thin”. Here’s hoping for a miraculous Spring!

What Blackboy (climbing Tea rose) looked like in June 2021. NOT what it looks like this June!

I know that some of the roses are usually still making a bit of a show in June, but this year they’re looking pretty over everything! Even the Teas aren’t offering much.

The Winter flowering shrubs seem unaffected, the camellias, Micaelyas and Gordonias seem happy enough. I guess they all like rain and acid soil, so there you go! As for the Citrus, they have mega happiness with very large fruit. The early easy peel mandarin had all its fruit rot on the tree tho, before they were quite ripe. Very stinky…

Oh blast, June is well over and this blog is still unfinished. As usual the problem is an IT one which I am always quite unable to fix…for some reason the website is suddenly saying the photos from my iphone are too big to download. They’re just the same as they’ve always been, so who knows? Certainly not me. I’ll just have to put in some old or dumb photos and get this blog published. I urgently need to get on with some “sold out” updates on the roses pages as the orders are coming in thick and fast and I’m selling out of everything!

So that’s it for June! Usually one of my favourite months of the year, but another to be glad to have got through this year! I’m really hoping July is going to be better!