A Wet and Soggy Summer!

Posted in All posts, August, on

North of the border, the schools have returned mid August, needless to say the sun has come out!  Every Spring, while busying away seed sowing, us gardeners hopefully dream of the long, warm summer evenings ahead, where we can bask in the glory of all our hard work. 

Sadly that has not quite happened for us this year in Scotland, it must be one of the wettest summers we've seen for a while.  Our local town suffered serious flooding, the worst ever known. Cars were piled on top of each other having been pushed down the street by the force of the water and four foot bridges have sadly been washed away! 

One of the aspects that drew us to buy our quaint little country cottage, was the babbling brook that ran along the bottom of the garden, the Alyth Burn (Scottish for stream!).  It provided me with a great excuse to get myself some ducks and geese which just love puddling about on the burn!

Every now and then, in the Winter months when we have heavy rainfall or snowmelt, it can come up quite high and flood into the bottom of the garden, but nothing to get overly excited about as it recedes as quickly as it rises.  This area of the garden is generally quite damp, so we've planted lots of willow and a Eucalyptus tree around the fence line to try and help dry it up.  Over the last few years, as the ground has dried up slightly,  we've left it to go wild with a little path mown through it.   Beautiful wild orchids are starting to naturalise, fat heads of pink clover brings the bees in along with an ever changing selection of wild flowers popping up year on year.

So when we suddenly awoke to drains gurgling and a river running through the garden back in mid July, it was all stations go to rescue poultry from their house up onto higher ground (the ducks happily floated out!) and try to rescue as many plants still in pots from the veg plot.

Thankfully the house didn't flood but the garden had a very obvious tide mark of branches and debris, along with about 30 metres of fencing ripped out and damaged!  A month on, fences have been replaced, sheds are drying out, and we're slowly getting the mess cleared up.  If nothing else it's been a great excuse to have a clear out!

It has made me look at the garden with new eyes though.  As much as this event has been the worst flooding to hit the area in a very long time, and hopefully it won't happen again for a while, this type of flash summer flooding does appear to be happening to at least one area if not more over the UK each year.  I'm keen to get a poly tunnel to extend our short season, but I'm now thinking it'll have to be raised slightly and we may even build some kind of levy so that it's not washed through.

I'd also love to grow lots more cut flowers, but again, I'm now thinking rather than creating new beds cut into the grassy areas we have, it'll be more raised beds to keep everything up high. Thankfully the veg plot has raised beds, otherwise all of our hard work would have been completely washed away.  A few of the beds were completely submerged, and initially I wasn't sure about harvesting the onions and garlic, but having left them they are looking ok. The broad beans have continued to grow, the first of the fresh growth was eaten at the weekend and tasted delicious so all is not lost. 

I'm amazed at how the garden has just bounced back, the flowers keep blooming, providing me with so many lovely little posies for the pop-up "Tea Shed" in the garden, I'm harvesting potatoes, courgettes, salads and peas daily, you'd never know the flood had happened! 

A few plants aren't looking too happy, the sweet peas haven't done so well this year or the dahlias, but I guess that's down to the lack of heat and far too much rain!  At the end of the day we always have next year and I'm already making plans in my head for what I'd like to grow and how I'm going to structure the layout of it all.  That's the joy of gardening, it's like creating a new patchwork blanket every year. 

This Autumn I'm determined to put the garden to bed properly, lots of well rotted manure will be added to the veg beds, a little bit of lime to replace any nutrients washed out and some fresh compost too.  But for now, I'm going to enjoy this blast of sunshine we're currently enjoying, maybe an Indian Summer is Scotlands treat from Mother Nature after all that rain!

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer!