Plan B?

We have just survived one of the worst weeks of weather I can remember for a long time. Storm force winds had been forecast for Saturday 13 February and by the late afternoon it was gusting about 70 mph, so we were not too surprised when there was a electrical power surge which blew several circuits and left us in the cold and dark. On Sunday the power was restored and we managed to revive the central heating system. The wind got stronger and stronger, until it blew out the middle section of the big polytunnel!

The morning after!

On Monday the wind had dropped to gale force and the torrential rain had been replaced by squally showers. The damage report – one trashed poytunnel, a serious list on the big fruit cage, and the loss of a couple of inches of soil from the vegetable beds. The metal framework of the polytunnel, although galvanised steel, had been showing serious signs of corrosion for sometime. We had hoped that it would last a little longer, but we had not expected such a catastrophic structural failure, even with the wind gusting upto 95 mph.
With the help of a friend we managed to make the structure safe and removed the whole centre section. Unfortunately, the weather has prevented us from starting to take down the remaining structure, but the two ends appear stable, even in 70 mph winds.

So what next? Last week’s plan is in the bin or at least subject to a major reappraisal, as the priority is to dismantle what remains of the polytunnel and see if we can repair the fruitcage. This is likely to be a slow process as the weather forecast for the remains of February appears to be a continuous succession of southerly gales, and until we are released from lockdown we can’t arrange for deliveries of hardcore or gravel. Good thing we didn’t sell the concrete mixer!
If you are going to live on the exposed west coast of a Scottish island on the edge of the North Atlantic with nothing between you and North America, you have to have a degree of stoicism when your garden gets trashed by the weather. So you clear up the mess, try to learn from the experience and continue gardening. To be horribly pragmatic, I also have the new challenge of what to do with an area of 19 x 17m! I’m open to suggestions and offers of serious sponsorship from anyone who would like to build a hurricane, corrosion proof covered garden.

To be continued when the weather improves……..

15 thoughts on “Plan B?”

  1. I admire your pragmatic approach, although I am sure some swearing and tearing at hair was the immediate reaction! Good luck with the tidy up once the wind subsides. Ideas for the new veg garden… underground with grow lamps?! 😉

  2. OH. MY. STARS. What a mess to have to deal with and how frustrating to have to repair/redo. I’m sending my apologies and empathy- that sort of weather is unpredictable at best, chaos-inducing at worst… and it looks like you guys got the latter.

  3. Hello Christine,
    I don’t know about a degree of stoicism… How dreadful, and we thought we’d had a bad week here. It pales by comparison.
    I think one of the trickiest things as gardeners all round the world, who along with farmers are well aware of how weather events seem to be see sawing ever more violently from one extreme to the next is trying to work out just what the limits of wind, rain sun, heat or cold might be, next year, or in 10 or 20 years.
    And then trying to formulate any sort of rational plan to cope. You both have our sympathies, and at least (?) it’s happened towards the end of February, and not say the beginning of November. Though I guess this is scant consolation.
    Wanting to share something lovely, but struggling, so in case you haven’t discovered this, maybe you might enjoy some of this, interesting take, as a switch off, when the power’s on?

    Best wishes
    Julian

  4. For the firts few years I did a lot of shaking my fist at the wind gods and giving them the benefit of my opinion. However, after a while, you just get on with it and try to rebuild bigger and better. I like the idea of a subterranean garden – perhaps mushrooms!

  5. Thank you Cortney. Hebridean weather is very unpredictable, very dramatic and sometimes very destructive, but it is not as bad as other places. On my desk is a picture of Charles Darwin with the following misquote ” ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change’. Over the 13 years we learnt to adapt.

  6. We are in emergency planning and operation clear-up mode, weather permitting. Unfortunately the downside to a stunning location, fantastic wildlife and a quiet life, in our case it’s the weather. I still wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else.

  7. Oh no! I’ll stop complaining about the wind down here now. Only half the strength that you’ve experienced. I hope the clear up goes well. I love the Darwin misquote. Very true nonetheless. It isn’t just the sheep which need to be hardy up there.
    In cheerier news, for me anyway, two Massonia seeds have germinated. So far.. Beyond excited!

  8. Hurrah, great news on the Massonias. I’m doing my best to ignore the weather and I’m hoping things will calm down soon so that we can start projecy garden restoration. In the meantime I’m enjoying everyones perfect Spring gardens.

  9. Thank you Julian – a gift of music is always appreciated.
    Hebridean weather is always unpredictable, but I suspect that we are experiencing some of the effects of climate change. It is difficult to predict how quickly and how much our situation will change. To be on the safeside i have checked the increase in sea level predictions and we have built the house in the right place, although we might find ourselves living on a very small island!

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