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Sunday, 27 June 2010

Going to pot.



In recent weeks I have begun gardening again in earnest. I was pleased with how so much had survived the ravages of a particularly cold and long winter. Thus, in time, the sage, sorrel, mint, lemon thyme, oregano, bay and fennel all sprouted new vigorous growth. The rosemary had remained untouched by the weather. I have added comfrey, curry plant, parsley, basil and camomile to my collection.

Bulbs I had pulled out last Autumn I replanted. Other plants flowered anew such as the Sweet Williams, Feverfew and even the Foxglove. It seems I was particularly lucky with the latter as it flowered last year and usually  the foxglove does not produce flowers until the second year. The hydrangea, hollyhocks, and roses I planted last summer have either flowered or are about to flower shortly. My gooseberry bushes produced a solitary gooseberry. I saw a number of flowers earlier in the year so I assume any other fruit was snaffled by the local wildlife. Next year I must buy netting!

I planted some garlic but the one I pulled out seemed more akin to spring onions than anything else. I have had a few strawberries. I move plants around when the berries form or bring them indoors to ripen. I have far more tomato plants now after the rip-roaring success of last year’s crops. My chilli pepper plant is flowering so I have high hopes for that. I might even get some decent sized courgettes this year. I have already used the beautiful yellow flowers in recipes.

Last year I failed to stake out the sweet peas and crucially failed to regularly cut the blooms, which meant seeding set in and further flowering came to a halt. I have learned my lesson and have been rewarded with plentiful flowers already.

Now that another keen gardener has arrived in the house I have followed her example and set more pots outside. The OF grumbled once that my few pots had left barren patches in the grass. He himself went on to make half a dozen massive scorch marks in the grass, when he used undiluted weed-killer, which destroyed the weed and everything in close proximity. But then gardening, like interior decorating, was never the OF’s forte. Jenny is determined that the hideous bunkers the OF installed in the front garden to house his belongings and the garden equipment must go. She has many ideas for the garden but is going to wait until October to carry them out with my help.

At Christmas I met a man in his 80s, of whom it was said, that he refused to leave his house for extended periods during the growing season. I had thought that was taking a love of gardening too far. But now I find myself echoing his sentiments. In terms of vice, gardening has to be the cheapest and the healthiest addiction around.

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