Just Miserable!

Social media, blogging etc. has the expectation, it seems to me, that we write happy things, clever statements, show the beautiful and the pretty, the upbeat and the positive or, failing that, pictures of cats and dogs.

But gardening cannot always be upbeat, full of sunshine and pretty flowers; there are also the mucky, wet, cold and dreadful days of winters such as this one and the hard work that goes into making a garden is quite simply that, work!

Garden view  (2)
The garden in winter

These past weeks have been particularly unpleasant with persistent rainfall, water-logged ground and flooding at times. Plants have been flattened and active gardening is out of the question. This time of year is one I normally enjoy very much. I have a keen interest in snowdrops which are in season now and I relish their flowering time especially because it is a time when gardening work is light so the work/pleasure balance is very positive.

Garden view  (3)
The garden in winter – all a little bare

At present it is impossible to do very much in my garden. The autumn clearing up was completed in time but there is always something to do – spread compost around the hellebores when they are cut down in late December or early January but this was done in November this year. I like to spread leafmould on areas with snowdrops but the ground is too wet to roll a wheelbarrow across the grass without leaving a furrow in my wake. Even walking on the grass leaves muddy footprints. I enjoy photographing each new snowdrop as it flowers so as to share this with fellow enthusiasts on Facebook but that has been impossible outdoors and I have resorted to bringing them indoors where they will open in the heat of the house and photographing them there – not as good as being able to do so in the garden but one must make do.

Galanthus 'Mary Hely-Hutchinson'  (2)
Galanthus ‘Mary Hely-Hutchinson, the first snowdrop to flower in the open garden and one of Irish origin

The inclement weather has made for more time indoors and I have now only three books in my waiting-to-be-read pile. It will be replenished shortly as the publishers’ catalogues have been arriving regularly over the past month. One of the reason I started this blog was to put my gardening book reviews online where there is space to write more that in the society’s newsletter where the reviews often amount to little more than a mention which is somewhat unfair to the authors, I believe, who have put in considerable time and effort writing.

Galanthus 'Three Ships'  (3)
Galanthus ‘Three Ships’ which flowers reliably before Christmas and is valued for that feature as well as its beauty

I have a few books which I have read but not reviewed and I wished to write a blog on what were my favourite books of the past year but Christmas and the New Year intervened and I put this on the long finger – I have commented previously that while some gardeners might boast of green fingers my fingers are most definitely long and were it not for the eleventh hour I would get little done in this life. But, nobody is setting these deadlines but myself and I will do it when I do it.

Galanthus 'Castlegar'  (4)
Galanthus ‘Castlegar’ an Irish snowdrop found by the late Dr. Keith Lamb on the Mahon Estate in Co. Galway and which flowers before Christmas each year.

To end on a positive note – as such is a required by many – I have had wonderful news of work on a project in which I am involved …. more anon!

Enjoy your new year!

Paddy Tobin

To find out more about the Irish Garden Plant Society visit our website or follow us on Facebook

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