Tuesday, 29 November 2011

I'm giving up gardening, becoming a plant detective

OK, its dreich today, grey and 'up and down rain' (i.e. the kind that falls straight to the ground and not our usual 'Ninja rain' which hits you in the face from a sideways angle at 70mph, sideways rain is NOT your friend). Anyway dreich I can cope with its a HUGE improvement on the weather over the past 4 days. A peedie bit windy, look its knocked me over - I'm windswept (a normal look for me) - the local radio had to update things via Facebook as their transmitter was hit by lightening I think, far too windy to hear information properly never mind take anything in properly. I'll let them fill you in.......

'A maximum gust of 130mph was recorded at the wind turbines at Hammars Hill at 6 am on Sunday morning. The highest average windspeed was slightly earlier, and reached 83mph. These windspeeds are equivalent to a Category 1 Hurricane, and are a new record for the site. The previous record was in February this year when winds reached 120mph. The highest 'official' gust last night (recorded near ground level) was 80mph. A breezy old night! Thanks to Richard Gauld of Orkney Sustainable Energy Ltd for the Hammars Hill info.' {thank you Radio Orkney}

OK, during this weather I've decided two things. I'm not cut out for extreme gardening. I think I might give it up and take up far less dangerous like base jumping, down hill moutain biking or alpine ridge skiing or perhaps orienteering without a map.  The latter hobby might come in handy when locating vegetables in the garden from the vegetable patch, as the wind decides where the vegetables will end up. Orienteering skills I feel might be handy here, maybe that should be my new hobby now that I've give up gardening?
For example yesterday - still windy but only gusting at a mere 50mph - I went to survey the damage (can't see out the windows due to the salt mines which are deposited on there so I can't exactly 'see' the garden through glass at the moment.) As I walked through the garden gate at the opposite end of the garden I find the very bonny leaves of my lovely hybrid 'fully hardy' flower sprout - think it  was 'Petit posy'? Anyway, it appeared to take flight here and in my mind, NOT Orkney hardy. But clearly likes to fly and is a good candidate for vegetable orienteering adventures. Another keen hobby I might take up is guess what this use to be............
I think it might have been a winter vegetable garden - but until I've mined my way through the layers of fencing, bits of wood and pathways strewn about the rich brown earth (which now resembles the wind blasted surface of the moon), who can say. 

I'm also going to be a plant pathologist I think, not the kind who look at bugs and diseases, although that would be fun, I think I'll be the kind of plant pathologist or detective who turns up like Inspector Cleuso or the Pink Panther and identifies plants after they've been absurdly abused by the weather or folk who don't look after them. I'd be good at that - looking at a withered stalk and saying 'OK its from the Rosaceae, hmmm, maybe been subjected to 70mph winds, yes of course its ladies mantle.' Maybe wind tunnel experts need my kind of assistance........? I think I'd make a great career at that. 'That plant use to be.............Alchemilla mollis
 Hmm, now in this particular 'crime' scene - these plants use to be hardy kale, hardy parsley, leeks, and winter cabbage.
Hmm, now this one a bit trickier - hmmmmm by the looks of it, it use to be a vegetable garden with HARDY kale, HARDY cabbage, winter lettuce (OK I was chancing my luck with that, I hadn't pulled them out yet), winter HARDY cabbage and WINTER leeks (they were the experiment, can they actually survive, I'd pulled the others after a bad gale in September). I'm afraid most of them have had it. You see, I am good at this. I can identify dead and shredded about to be dead vegetables. Its quite an art, I can tell you. However to be fair, I'm quite chuffed, half the fence is still there - which I didn't expect and is a bonus and whilst the wooden path has blown up, it didn't leave the garden, which is also a bonus - a real positive result I think, the gardens actually still there - well most of it, I have lost half the net fence. (I'll add this part of the garden is the most sheltered, surrounded on two sides with a hedge and the other by the house). 

I really do think I might give up outdoor (in my garden) gardening. A nice lawn that's what I need, no silly plants and grass kept nice and short to keep the wind at bay.  Another thing I've decided is that chickens are hardier than I am and far more hardy than so called 'HARDY WINTER VEGETABLE GARDEN'. During all the gales and the ninja rain, they wandered about and stood under the tree.
They are either very hardy and brave, or utterly stupid. I'll leave you to decide that - and don't feel sorry for them huddled under a tree, they have a perfectly bonny, dry, cosy, lovely stone byre to live in full of straw, lovely nesting boxes and ample floor space to play twister if they want too - they prefer huddling under a tree or wandering around the field/yard in hurricane force winds looking for tasty delights. Hardy outdoor free range, Orkney chooks. I am not a hardy Orkney chook, I've giving up the great outdoors for good, or maybe just for a while or I might lie down in it and never get up - now there, a fine plan!
I'm seriously rethinking the garden I may move the whole thing under a polytunnel and read books on the perfect lawn. Did I mention I use hate grass? Oh well, I might change my mind. In the mean time I'm huddled with books on 'pick your new hobby' and tucking into bread and cheese (I don't like cake, or chocolate, bread is my comfort solace food) as I console myself that gardening just isn't for me. NOT in this garden.
More bread please, I'm in mourning.


  1. You need a WALLED garden my dear - get hefting stones and you might get it built by - er - 2020? I *do* feel your pain though! I feel for the plants too. In the summer I am bored with grass but when I see what winter does, I'm glad I have lots of it. Your home made bread looks excellent comfort food though. (I always cheat and use my bread maker - this looks like PROPER home made bread!)

  2. Move to somewhere with the Gulf Stream. Inverewe??

  3. Oh I really feel for you. We were staying with family in the north east of england over the weekend and the wind there was bad enough. We got no sleep. Staying indoors and baking sounds like a great idea to me.

  4. Oh your poor garden :-( Think they should introduce a new category for plants, Orkney Hardy. Hope you enjoyed your lovely bread.

  5. do your chickens not get hurled about by the wind? i find them funny little characters.

  6. Ah Fay, you would never survive if you gave up gardening. After all, isn't overcoming obstacles and hardship what gardening is all about? Once that polytunnel is sorted you can grow all of your veg in there. Then get a lawn and some lovely pots for the leisure bit of the garden, that way when the wind comes you just move the pots indoors and have an indoor garden!

  7. Stick with it, hen and forget the grass. All that scarifying and the like....

  8. The wind was quite bad here in the North East but not as bad as you had it up there. I actually thought of you when they mentioned Orkney on the weather forecast. I'm happy that you made it through but it's a real shame the scarecrow got knocked over!!!

  9. Thank god you've seen the light at last and are giving up this gardening malarky - i knew it was just a phase! great news about the down hill mountain biking and skiing though wee one! makes your crimbo pressie much easier and i get a bike/ski buddy! hurray! everyones a winner!

    lots of love Mr F

  10. Glad you didn't blow away! I always worry about the chickens spiraling off into the distance... Poor old garden though - wouldn't blame you if you moved the entire thing inside the polytunnel, as long as that doesn't blow away too!

    (and what nonsense to you giving up gardening, I don't believe it for a second!)

    :) xx

  11. Cheery, spiralling chickens worry me too!

    I won't really give up gardening! Xxx

    Bradders - no pressie thank you! Xxx

  12. Anne poor you, thank you for thinking of me! And I think I'd make a great scarecrow. Xx

    Aye Janet scarifing I'd forgotten about all that malarkey, I'll maybe reconsider....!

    Cheri now that's a plan! Xxx

  13. Jts - they do walk rather quickly in the wind......hurling is quite apt!

    WW can - Orkney hardy is a category I think needs work! Good idea, um the bread, shop bought!

    Wellywoman depending on the direction, I've been known to move bedrooms, this time nowhere was quiet! I am staying indoors the now! Baking great idea too......

    Elephants eye, we are in the gulf stream, but only just I think. Inverewe would be lovely.......

    Sian, firstly I can't make bread - twas the finest of shop bought I treated myself too, bread making even in a machine is my arch nemesis. I'm pants at it. So I'm a bread fraud, the cheese came from Norway (thank you mr f) but the chilli jam was my own.

    A dry stane duke would be fabulous, I'm putting it on my Xmas list, hope santas listening.

  14. Dry stane dyke - lol to predictive text!

  15. Oh Fay. One day you will have a garden somewhere that DOESN'T get hurricane force winds. In the mean time, hang on to your sense of humour - and your hat...

  16. I hope you don't have to start blogging from Oz one day Fay.

    Now After some thought I will suggest that a Dry Stane Duke is a duke that has been carefully colored (pink? green?) with a dry stane, which is like flour only made of coloration material that stains...dukes. There, I cleared that up for you. But what's a crimbo pressie?

  17. Hey there Janet - oh thats a real dream a garden without hurricane winds - Bliss - as is trying to keep a sense of humour - however if it means a new hat then I'm in. YOU see a cloud in every silver hurricane, new hats. :) x

  18. Linnew - I knew you'd have the right reply to the Duke issue - who'd have known Dukes were so easily coloured.

    A chrimbo pressie is a 'christmas present'. We're very lazy here in the UK if there's an way to reduce words we tend to find it.

  19. W Watering can

    Do you think if I got enough Dry stane dukes and asked them nicely (once Linnew's coloured them) if they'd lie down and make me a nice wall? I do hope so. However, probably take alot of dukes though.

  20. Good Lord! In amongst the dukes, there was an actual hurricane! I don't understand how I missed this post, OF, staggering level of damage done, though thankfully no spiralling chickens ...

  21. nice idea, thanks for sharing...

  22. Wonderful space you've got there! I really love the photos! Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!