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On summer

There's something special about the UK summer. For one thing, it's relatively short, but as a friend says, plants know that from spring onwards, they have to hurry up and grow! So they tend to get a lot done in the space of a few short months. One thing that does struggle is a fig tree: there just isn't enough time for the fruit to ripen before autumn sets in, so waiting for figs is a little bit futile unless you're really lucky and have a fig tree that gets on with it.

But for native plants, they just have this innate ability to put out leaves, grow, form flowers and fruit, in the space of a quite miraculous quarter of a year, really. So you'll get apples, pears, plums and cherries in abundance - if the blackbirds don't get them first. I'm not sure why they leave the raspberries and blackberries alone. This year my cherry tree will be getting a net, as the blessed birds stripped the tree of a very fine stock of cherries in 2019, in one single day. They have a liking for my garden and have put forth at least six broods of babies, over the last three years. I'm really big on wildlife, but not so keen on having my precious seedlings tossed out of the earth while the birds look for earthworms underneath them. They're suddenly onsite, now, and excavating the compost heap, depositing its contents onto my path. I sweep the debris away, and ten minutes later they're back. I think chicken wire is in order here.

Summer is short here, but it's an adventure, and it's a real challenge to find ways of keeping the garden looking good into the depths of winter without the abundance of perennials that grow in such profusion. Take a look at our Pinterest board for images of the Enchanted Garden summer:

We're still in the depths of winter with snowdrops coming through, but summer is coming and we have to enjoy every moment while it lasts - taking copious photos because they are a wonderful memory of what has been, at a time when all you can see is mud and bare branches.

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