Hot and close with drought

We haven’t got a drought, yet, but we certainly have a wonderful run of real summer weather. All the windows in the house are open and walking out at night there’s no need to put on anything extra not even a light jacket. I don’t believe that childhood summers were all like this; I can remember plenty of summer holidays spent at the swimming pool when it was really cold – but we were hardy and all our friends were there, so swimming in the rain,what did it matter? I remember being on the river wearing coats and jumpers underneath, I remember going to the seaside and huddling in a friend’s beach hut!

The words I’ve used to head this come from my dad’s gardening book; his copy was published in 1948 but the book was written maybe ten years or more before. There is a section which guides the gardener through the gardening year, and at the top there’s a description of what weather to expect, so:

Hot and close with drought and heavy rains in the balance. Staking becomes necessary, and neglect often means a ruined herbaceous border just when it should be at its best.

As usual the gardener has to be vigilant for different roubles which might afflict his food plots, his fruit garden his flower patch such as blight on potatoes, pests, mildew and silver leaf. Things in season must be picked, plucked, dug up or cared for, things yet to come must be fed, pruned, layered or pricked out, and there is the never-ending hoeing which Dr Sudell who wrote the book is obsessed by.. Planning is always an option if there is a quiet moment, in this case, for July it’s planning what to do with surplus crops and how to keep them over winter – no freezers seventy years ago!

Considering this is a guide for ordinary domestic gardeners, it makes you wonder how they had time to go to work, look after their families or do any jobs around the house!

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