8 Things About My Somerset Garden
It’s nearly 10 months since we moved to Somerset. Life is beginning to take shape: Ailsa has a job here, Lewis starts at the local primary school in September (where did that time go??) and Rory the pre-school. We’re exploring the new surroundings and can now make it to the shops for milk without the need for the sat nav.
Then there’s the garden. Here 8 observations from my time here in Somerset so far.
It rains a lot.
Well, compared to Essex where I was a stone’s throw from the driest place in the country. I knew it rained more, and of course I don’t really mind, because the good news is…
It’s very green and lush here
With a higher amount of rainfall and the more humid climate, everything is noticeably greener than Essex. When we go back to see friends, it’s amazing how the landscape becomes more arid as you travel further East. It’s testament to the determination of Essex growers that good harvests happen, because it’s only now I’m realising the commitment required to water so frequently, especially as…
I don’t have to water very much here…
…because it rains a lot.
The soil is amazing
I’ve never been so lucky as to have such incredible soil as I have in my new garden. My soil back in Essex was passable, but I had to work hard at regularly improving the clay and adding extra nutrients. And it was bloody hard work to dig. The soil here is incredibly light and crumbly, and my back is going to be thankful of that when I’m turning the loam in the middle of winter.
Going to enjoy working with this soil. pic.twitter.com/gpNt5o51lt
— Jono Stevens (@RealMenSow) January 28, 2017
I’m not blogging very much.
This is an odd one, as I’ve found in the past that a new growing challenge or plot immediately inspires me to blog more. I could excuse myself on the basis of trying to keep my two boisterous boys in check, but the truth is I haven’t much to write about at the mo. Garden clearance began reasonably rapidly with the removal of a pampas grass the size of a bus, but since then progress has slowed as the pickaxe and I wearily remove root after root.
There is only so much you can write about root removal and a few tomato plants on the patio, so I guess this is my first blogging hiatus. That’s no bad thing though, and after seven years of blogging and a book maybe I need a little rest and the chance to work on some other projects. I reckon Spring is the perfect time to come back in earnest, fresh with a nice new veg patch and another season of growing ahead of me.
There are some beautiful gardens
None more so than our opposite neighbours, Tim and Kate. I’ve marvelled all summer, seeing them beavering away until 10pm in the middle of the week and the rewards are there for all to see. I certainly feel pretty humble amongst the gardeners in our new village.
The Garden Club’s annual plant sale was also testament to the quality of the local growing fraternity. I could have bought everything in the hall that day!
More pigeons than snails
Remarkably, there doesn’t seem to be hardly any slugs and snails in my garden, despite the wetter conditions and plethora of places for them to take refuge. This bodes well for next year, as fighting the slimies was a constant battle.
However, there is a new nemesis. The pigeons here are huge and eat everything. I did put some kale and beetroot seedlings in during Spring, and they were all munched, as was a Daubenton perennial kale I was sent by the Backyard Larder. Chatting to lady in the village, she says that the pigeons are the biggest single pest here and that she now nets pretty much everything.
You escape one, but there’s always another pest ready to bring you down!