Welcome to the first in a new series of guest posts! We will be having gardeners from all over the country tell us about their gardening experiences. Our first guest blogger is Peter.
After that warm March we had, everything seems to have ground to a halt. I have picked out quite a few of the bedding plants to put into the greenhouse, which is now pretty full. I must clear the other bench of some of the stuff – pots, seed trays, etc. – that has accumulated. I have a good size cold frame, and the bedding plants that I have put there seem to be doing as well as the ones in the greenhouse, so I guess I can put more in there. My greenhouse is unheated, excepted for a thermostatically controlled electric heater that is set very low against frost. It never comes on when I am in there, so hopefully it does not cost too much.
On the vegetable front, the leeks in the seed bed outside are just appearing, but the spinach beet and turnips are noticeable for their absence. Perhaps the seed was too old, but last year it seemed crazy to plan to grow 1500 turnips, so I had quite a lot of seed left over – still do, so there’s a chance for another sowing.
Spent some time digging out some of those perennials that people have given us that get infested with weeds to give space for the bedding plants. Geraniums are one culprit (not the pelargonium geraniums).
Must cut some more hazel for the climbing French bean, grown for the first time last year with great success. So much more productive than dwarf French beans, easier to pick and out of reach of the slugs! Must cut the hazel this weekend before it comes into leaf. Too much to do, not enough time!
The joy of having lightly scrambled eggs that have the colour resembling the bright orange sun that sets at the bottom of our garden is so great compared to the pale insipid eggs you get from the supermarket. Even though they claim to be organic free range they never seem to taste as good as my girls’ eggs.
Let me introduce you to my Girls. Posh (the greedy one), Pecks (R.I.P), Jazz (the fluffy one), Fajita (the bully) and Pigeon (the dopey one). They must be enjoying the lovely spring weather as – Hallelujah! – they are starting to lay eggs again.
But they don’t make it easy for me! Their favourite game to play is the egg hunt. They love finding their special place for laying unfortunately for me they don’t always agree to use the same place. So individually they find their little spot and that could be absolutely anywhere from flower pots, behind statues, in hedgerow and even under our log store. The neighbours must think I’m clucking mad crawling round on my knees with my head poking through their hedgerow cussing and cursing. And once I find their new hiding place, they’re already plotting where to lay next!
They have a lovely house – it was my daughter’s old wendy house, hand built some 20 years ago so, it’s done rather well. Anyway I made them boxes inside the house lined comfortably layered with sawdust, straw and newspaper for laying but it seems these girls like a bit of rough.
I must say it’s rather therapeutic watching them pecking away round the garden while we eat our meals on the patio. The girls will often sit at our feet waiting for a few tit bits – talk about ladies who lunch! And as far as the beauty routine goes, regular dust baths are a must and don’t get me started on the sunbathing now it’s getting warmer.
They may be very mischievous but the holey primulas, dislodged shingle and the odd accidental dip in the pond, my garden wouldn’t be the same without them.
Dex the digger, brought his mate Luke to work one day saying that he would share his wages with him, but needed, or perhaps he said wanted, someone else to work with, I can’t quite remember. Well, pleased that the work would get done quicker, I insisted that Luke should be paid equal wages too. Seeing two grown men working for half wages did not sit right with me. However, over the next few days, it did seem to be taking a long time to do these last bits of garden. work Then the rain came, and came and came and came, so that when Dex and Luke came to work, they had to take shelter in the shed at frequent intervals. I was away for 3 days and left them to work, as I had done before when Dex worked alone. This time on my return however, there definitely did seem to be less work done than when Dex had been alone. Did I smell a rat? Had it rained that much? Was I getting paranoid? I pondered over the weekend, and decided to ask Dex to come to work early on Monday, without Luke. I would then work with him most of the day myself. I rang on Sunday to arrange this, but couldn’t speak to Dex directly, leaving a message instead. Early Monday came and went. Dex did arrive late morning with Luke, full of apologies. Unfortunately his personal life had fallen apart that weekend and he had to travel from Kent that morning, from where he was now staying. The cost was outrageous and accounted for most of his earnings that day. We all three worked in the garden till early afternoon and got most jobs finished and the place looking tidy. The new turf had taken well and loved all the rain. I had bought just the Cordyline I wanted and found the perfect place for it. But that was the last I saw of Dex and was left feeling very sad for him. I left thinking about the rest of the garden for another time.
Gardening has inspired writers the world over, and many great minds have turned to the garden for peace, pleasure, or as a creative outlet. Here are some gardening quotes and sayings that we think you may enjoy.
“Nature never goes out of style.” — Anonymous
“Earth laughs in flowers.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“A gardener learns more in the mistakes than in the successes.” — Barbara Dodge Borland
“He that plants trees loves others beside himself.” — Thomas Fuller
Do you have any favourite gardening and nature related quotations? Share them with us in the comments!