I’m not exactly an avid shopper at the best of times so I wasn’t expecting to be one of those racing down to the nearest garden centre as they reopened in Scotland this weekend. But it turns out that we had an urgent plant need, as I can explain. Well over a year ago we bought a blueberry bush on something of a whim during Potato Day (I know, it’s not a potato, but all sorts of garden related paraphernalia can be picked up if you can get past the fleece-clad hordes). Ultimately, we will be building a fruit cage, in the fullness of time, but for now the blueberry bush has been planted outside the greenhouse alongside a couple of gooseberry bushes that sort of fell into our trolley when we were going round a garden centre.
Last year the blueberry bush didn’t produce any fruit but that was because a hare had thoughtfully and methodically removed each of the flowering branches while we sat and watched it do it; hares eat what they like in our garden as regular blog readers will be aware. This year the hares have left the bush alone – they’re surprisingly fickle about their preferences – but although it has been flowering, it has not set any fruit and I recently read that blueberries either need or prefer some cross pollination from another bush.
So, with garden centres opening – and our blueberry window of opportunity closing it was time to saddle up the Brompton (mainly because of its capacious front basket) and head off to find a partner for our lonely blueberry bush.
It helped that it was a lovely day.
Naturally, I took the scenic route.
Once at the garden centre, having negotiated the new rules (every customer was issued with a basket as well as any trolley ‘because we’ve got 70 baskets and that’s how many people are allowed inside’) I headed (almost) straight for the fruit bush section (a bottle of citrus feed may just have fallen into my basket as even Bob Flowerdew on Gardener’s Question Time said it was worth buying and he’s someone even less likely than me to spend actual money on something that could possibly be brewed from old nettles and repurposed car tyres). Unlike Potato Day, no sharp elbows were required – everyone was on their absolute best behaviour, like children who are being taken on a long-awaited treat but only if they are very very good – indeed, there was so much ‘after youing’ things almost came to a halt in places. A flowering blueberry bush was swiftly located and loaded into the Brompton and I was able to pedal back at moderate speed* to unite the new lovers at last. I can only hope their union proves a fruitful one.
* I can only apologise to the young lad walking his mountain bike up our road, on the way home. Being outclimbed by a middle aged woman must have been bad, being outclimbed by one on a Brompton with half a shrubbery in her front basket can only have burned. I hope he would be comforted to know that I was a woman on a mercy mission. And he’s now prepared for a lifetime cycling in the Bigtownshire area where being out-cycled by people twice your age only stops when you yourself are old enough to be the one doing the outriding. Even the wiry old boys had to start somewhere…