It is a mixed summer – the swifts were late, but arrived in numbers, and they’ll be gone again by next week. There were lots of butterflies in April, then none, and now lots of small tortoiseshells and whites. The weather was very dry, then wet, then hot and thundery. The lime blossom is over but the buddleia is out, and the first rownas are turning red. The garden is at its peak of production just now, and all the weak points are showing up – the places where mildew has hit, the fruit bushes under attack from sawfly, the places where some things have grown too big, and other things come to nothing. On the whole, I’m quite pleased – the lavender is finally doing what I wanted it to do
I got a good haul of redcurrants and gooseberries, most of the seeds I planted have germinated, the pond is full of invertebrates and amphibians, and there’s plenty of colour and butterfly, bird and bee action.
But now is the time when you start to reckon up, and think about the next year. As I go through the harvest, drying herbs, freezing tomato sauce, and trying new dye plants, I’m beginning to think – but what next? is this doing what I expected? what will the garden need from me next year?
So too with this blog. There will be a short hiatus while I have a holiday, and deal with all the garden things, and set up next winter’s writing and editing projects. But also I’ll be thinking what to do with this blog. It seems to have hit the doldrums, between one book and the next, and one family or political drama after another, and I need to whistle up a wind to take me to the next phase.
The newsletters will continue steadily – it will be marigold next time, and looking at form – and I certainly won’t stop posting. But I have had a couple of projects brewing behind the scenes coming out of the research I’ve been doing for the next collection, and if I can get them properly evolved, it might be interesting to share them here. There are a few people who follow the blog who are less interested in poetry, and more interested in herbs (and well-being generally), or in the environment, and what responses we might make to all the stuff that goes on, or the society we will need to build to deal with it. Well, I’m quite interested in those things myself (it’s where the poetry comes from), and though my research is a bit random, there’s a lot of it, and a lot of hard thinking I don’t want going to waste. I just have to work out what might be interesting to other people, and find a good way to present it.
If you’ve been reading this blog a while, you might have an opinion on this – please comment if so – either here or on my Facebook page.