I have just seen the weather report for the coming week. It doesn’t bode well for gardening of any shape, form or persuasion, except for those lucky enough to have access to a greenhouse or conservatory. On reflection I don’t think it bodes well for any outdoor activity, much more an indoor pursuits kind of week, tidying out under the stairs or lying on the settee with leftover Christmas chocolates (yes there are still many many many of these golden brown temptresses in our house) watching Casablanca or equivalent. In summary this is the forecast: a blue amorphous blob is approaching rapidly from the Atlantic where it slows significantly to dawdle nonchalantly across the south-west only to be ushered away by further saturated blobs in its wake that appear to be just as lazy. This is unfortunate as, the more astute of you may well have worked out, I make my living as a gardener. So these swirling amoeba of torrential rain and gale force winds brings with them a problem – the conundrum of when it is right to work and when it is not.
There may be doubters, but it is more than just a case of not wanting to get wet and mess my hair up. Although few enjoy working in the rain (mainly ducks and the weird and I’m not sure how much work ducks actually do) it is unlikely to be anything much worse than uncomfortable for the worker. Getting up a sweat whilst dressed in full waterproofs, even the poshest breathable kit, and the result is boil-in-the-bag gardener, I believe considered a delicacy in the nether regions of the Alpha Centauri star system. Some pay thousands for an equivalent spa treatment. It is not the gardener that is the problem, it is the garden. There are some jobs that can be safely undertaken in bad weather without detriment to the garden, there are many that can’t. In fact even when the rain has stopped the soil may well be unworkable for a while. Once I explained to a client that I may not make it in as there was snow forecast “afraid of a little cold weather” he mocked “no” I replied “the ground will be covered in snow”. Pruning is a job that can be done in the wet, as long as you don’t have to stomp all over flower beds in order to do so. However “twinkle toes” you consider yourself to be (and I certainly do not come into this category) this will compact your soil, potentially ruining years of careful nurturing.
So this is the entrance to the moral maze, do you turn up for work, at best achieve little at worst cause damage and not be “value for money” or do you stay at home to do the paperwork* and miss an opportunity that the weather may improve, get labelled a “fair weather” and of course miss out on a days pay? I don’t know the answer, I just want to be fair, all I can say is that I am looking forward to spring!
This magnificent acacia at Damage Hue has no interest in the weather.
* See previous references to settee activities