AWOL Posted on June 11, 2014

I suppose the best thing to do with my greenhouse in summer would be to empty it and close it down. The only plants that would benefit from it now are the tomatoes; everything else would be just as happy outdoors until autumn. I’m far from convinced that the irrigated plunge bed I’ve continued is up to its job while I’m away – which of course I shouldn’t be. It depends on a leaky pipe buried in sand on a very thin layer of drainage: a delicate balance that certainly couldn’t handle a heat wave through glass – even with the shading at its maximum.

My main concern is my not-quite-rooted cuttings (and indeed my rooted ones). They’ll go in the shade outside (there’s lots of that) with a sprinkler once a day – like the rest of the garden. It still comes as a shock how much irrigation a London garden needs. We have at least twenty little rotating plastic sprinklers branched off a pipe around the walls. Each one covers a radius of two to three feet. It is near the walls, of course, that most water is needed, where the roots of the many and various climbers are concentrated. When we’re away for more than a day or two all the pots have to be clustered together with their own sprinkler (some with saucers; some without). You can tell I’m not convinced it’s all going to work. There will be casualities.

Plants could be almost as demanding as pets if you let them. Freedom and gardening are not natural partners.

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