21 September 2012

What a Whopper!

Gardener Pete reflects on the summer that was (if you can call it that!) and introduces a strange local pastime...
The Beasts

I've lived in the Lake District for nearly 25 years and I can't remember a worse summer than the one we've just had. There's been almost incessant rain, and when it hasn't been raining it's been dull. I'm told that in the whole of June we only had 3 completely dry days, and July and August weren't much better.

All that precipitation and a distinct lack of sunshine has meant that things in the garden haven't been so rosy. The herbaceous plants and the shrubs have done ok, although there have been fewer flowers and they've gone over more quickly, but most of the vegetables and many of the fruit have been a disaster. My only crumb of comfort has been that many of the visitors to Hill Top have had similar tales of woe.

There are signs that 'summer' is coming to an end now and all hopes of an 'Indian Summer' can be packed away for another year (have we ever had an Indian Summer?) The nights are drawing in, there's a distinct chill in the air and I've had to light the log burner the last few evenings to keep Florence our ever-chilly whippet warm.

 Another harbinger of autumn is the annual Sawrey Marrow Show which took place on Sunday. Having started 21 years ago as a bit of friendly rivallry between locals in the bar of the Sawrey Hotel, the event now attracts entries from far and wide (well, as far as Flookburgh anyway)!
There's a raffle and a 'guess the weight of the marrow' competiton, very tasty home made cakes, and as this year's show was held at the Tower Bank Arms, a few beers too.

It was raining as usual but the locals were out in force to support the event (along with a smattering of bemused looking Japanese visitors). It would appear that marrows have enjoyed the weather this year, and there were some real giants on display outside the pub, (although I suspect the biggest ones may have spent their lives being mollycoddled in the cosy surroundings of a poly tunnel being drip-fed top secret fertilizers). My 13 year old neighbour Robert and I decided to go for quality rather than quantity this year and managed to bag 2nd and 3rd prizes in the 'Best Looking Marrow' category!

The Beauties (ours are 3rd and 4th from the left)
 Next year we might try to grow a really big one, but we're going to need a lot more sunshine....or perhaps a second hand poly tunnel.

And finally, I can't resist posting a link to this. Enjoy!

Post and photos by Pete the Gardener.