Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

Despite torrential rain, a moment of beauty shows itself at Harlow Carr

The weekend started off well enough: there we were, the garden team, chattering happily about the previous evening on our way into the garden - when slap bang wallop our joyous ramblings evaporated as we saw the devastation caused by the previous evening's heavy rain and thunderstorms. Paths were damaged by the water coursing everywhere, gravel was all over the grass, in places silt and mud had landed where the water had dragged it, and a new small lake had appeared behind the bathhouse where the drain was blocked.

Sighing, we turned back to get wellies and drainage rods and then spent the best part of the next two hours clearing, raking and making good the garden for the visitors to walk round safely. More torrential rain followed during the course of the day and we felt the inevitable gloom that settles on the shoulders safe in the knowledge that path repairs would have to be undertaken all over again the following day!

The next day dawned brighter, and we were determined to get to the cause of our new small lake, so under the cotoneaster went Malcolm, shovel in hand and very soon all we could see was mud and silt flying out as he cleared the gully next to the building. Right on cue we were gamely collecting up his newly acquired piles of mud and slinging them into the back of a vehicle to remove later. Once the gully was cleared the drain backed up, however, Malcolm got his hand in and dragged out the offending materials: leaves and gravel and mud! Opening up the manhole cover next to it showed the water flushing though once more and we all cheered; much to the amusement of some visitors passing by, nothing if not versatile us gardeners!

What a contrast to earlier in the week when I was down at Chelsea, such breathtaking attention to detail and so much hard work had gone into all the Show Gardens and the Grand Pavilion, the sun shone and the mood was mellow, the Chelsea Pensioners were out en masse and it was great to be part of it for a little while, on the train home however the air conditioning started pumping out warm air and a packed train instantly wilted and fell silent apart from the sound of feverish flapping of show catalogues with their new-found use as fans!

As another day closes here I can’t help but marvel at the delicate beauty of our famous blue poppies - their petals looking like the newly unfurled wings of a butterfly.

The rain only enhances their beauty somehow, and wiping a speck of mud from my eye I once more felt that all was well with the world.

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