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Autumn downpours

Posted: Wednesday 3 October 2012
by Pippa Greenwood

I’m rarely one to look forward to a season being over, but from a gardening perspective at least, I’m happy to say farewell to summer 2012.

Lawn in heavy rain

If your garden is awash after these recent torrential downpours, you have my heartfelt sympathy. I hope things get back to normal as soon as possible. As I write, the rain is pouring down, yet again.

I did manage to snatch a very small amount of time in the garden this morning to start my autumn clean-up, but what a mess everything was in. My young winter veg plants were uprooted by the rain and my beautiful rosehips scattered all over the ground, ruining the display for this year. The grass has been growing strongly, but the surface is now so wet that it’s impossible to mow. I could go on and on, and no doubt many of you could tell similar tales of woe. 

I’m rarely one to look forward to a season being over, but from a gardening perspective at least, I’m happy to say farewell to summer 2012.

Still, despite being the bane of our gardening lives, this summer’s weather has been perfect for many pests and diseases. I’ve been virtually tripping over piles of slug and snail eggs (cream or clear spheres, 1-2mm in diameter), and tomato blight even invaded my greenhouse this summer, presumably via open vents. 

Daddy-long-legs (crane flies) have been hatching out in vast numbers. Although not strictly pests themselves, their larvae (known as leatherjackets) feed on plant roots, especially lawn grass. There were so many daddy-long-legs last month that I naively assumed October would be clear of them, but no such luck so far.

Despite all the rain, leaf fall (and autumn colour) seem to be starting late this year. In my brief clean-up this morning, I raked up the very first of the leaves to turn into leaf mould. The garden immediately looked neater and doing something so positive gave me a warm glow of satisfaction. 

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happymarion 06/10/2012 at 21:51

Being a Pollyanna I had to find something good to say about this summer and it is the fact I did not need to water my raised beds full of veg and flowers once despite warnings that the drawback to having raised beds was that the drainage was so good they needed a lot of watering!

Caz W 06/10/2012 at 22:08

Watering raised beds can be a very exhausting business!  As they say "every cloud has a silver lining" and I will try and remember your positive thinking when it's pouring with rain.   

Maud is in the garden 07/10/2012 at 13:14

Walking backwards and forwards to the water tanks at the allotment is such hard work so im GLAD i didnt have to do that so much this year.