Where have all the flowers gone?
Guest blog by Langdon gardener, Gail Rowlands
If you are like me you are wondering if spring will ever actually arrive for more than a few hours at a time this year or if we will pass straight into summer!
Gardening has been totally perplexing this year so far. So much in the garden isn’t doing what it should be.
Take the roses for instance.
The picture of left is how they looked in April two years ago. On the right is April this year.
Have I done anything differently in terms of pruning or feeding.......no. So what is happening?
I was reading a piece by Monty Don in May 2023 copy of Gardeners World. He writes of our increasingly challenging climate variations. Last year the maximum and minimum temperature in UK had a 50 degree difference. that is astonishing. Last summer we were talking about the need to invest in more drought tolerant plants and develop dry gardens; by November when the ground was frozen for days on end, we were talking about the need for frost hardy plants. The two aren’t mutually exclusive by any means but it does make planning a sustainable garden much more of a challenge.
Behind this year’s sad roses I had planted some prostrate rosemary as a backdrop and to tumble down a beautiful terracotta brick wall. The bright blue flowers just shone in previous growing seasons. This year I have had to remove the rosemary which is more than capable of surviving extreme hot and cold weather. I can only think it got waterlogged then the roots froze. The biting winds didn’t help either.
The Jewel Meadow........or what have the rabbits done?
Last year the perennial tulips were stunning. They provided a joyful pop of colour in an otherwise bland lawn. This year the rabbits have bitten their flower heads off and nibbled the lush growth. I suspect the rabbits may also have been having a gourmet feast on the new growth of the David Austin roses. I mean I love rabbits but I’m not sure about providing them with a gourmet larder of much loved plants!
I think we just have to accept that we are living in times of change which we will work through and come to terms with. In the meantime we need to sow seeds and take cuttings of plants we know and love, give the surviving garden plants as much tlc as possible, research new plants and embrace the new future of gardening.