Playing the long game

A monthly diary of activities and progress in Susan’s Garden.

Photo heavy, text light, following a natural timeline.

The heart of a poppy, host to a tiny traveller.

The heart of a poppy, host to a tiny traveller.

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The teams are ready, the whistle has blown: kick-off! It’s game on. After the end of season clear-out in March, the new team has been selected, positions confirmed in April. The crowd starts to arrive for the game: snails (occupying the best seats in the stands, of course), slugs, good insects, bad fungus. It’s not all roses you know.

And the opposition appears with alarming speed! Suddenly the field is full of threats and the gardener’s instincts for survival kick in.

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Now it’s a question of attack and defence: attack the fungus with Bouillie Bordelaise; defend against the interlopers with ash and other deterrents; protect your stars so they can build the plays; admire the dazzling but brief displays of natural talent, applaud the promising but slim early-season pickings and - always - have an eye for the future.

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This game of gardening is played long: it takes stamina and patience and imagination and one eye cast over the shoulder to progress to the holy grail. The gardener’s eye never rests.


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In Susan’s garden, in May, she met with all these elements. Apart from the never-ending mistral rendering the cypress horizontal, drying everything in sight and making the task of painting the house nigh on impossible, Susan brought her best game. The reward was, at the end of the month a bijou score: a basket of beautiful ruby red cherries.

In training! May 9: Permaculture - trying something new

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Attack! May 25: Orchard blues - fighting off fungus

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Half time show! May 25: The wild crowd.

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Defend! May 25: Ashes to ashes - first defence against molluscs

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It’s a goal! May 30: Cherry picking - sweet reward

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