Stopping to Smell the Flowers

May 27, 2018

After a full on few weeks of work – and a Friday deadline that ended up extending well into Saturday evening – I have finally come out (almost) on the other side.

There is work still to be done (as well as a whole backlog of cycling-related stuff to organise), but today I finally felt able to take some time off and try and catch up with the garden. As the other half was keen to try growing some tomatoes in hanging baskets to maximise the greenhouse space, this first meant a trip to the garden centre which is rapidly (sad to relate) becoming one of our go-to options for an exciting outing like the middle-aged people we are.

more flowers and hedgerows

Normally we’d go by car because garden centre trips usually end up with us buying things like giant bags of compost, which even I don’t think can be sensibly transported by bike* – but I persuaded the other half we’d manage to get a few hanging baskets easily enough with a few creatively deployed bungees, so we took the scenic route.

Stopping only for photos

speedwells and bike

(I was so taken by the banks of speedwell along the cycle path coming into Bigtown, that I just googled how to encourage them to naturalise in the lawn. Ah. Apparently most people spend their time desperately battling to prevent speedwell from taking over their lawns. How strange. But then again, I’ve never understood why people try and eliminate daisies from their lawn either).

I then spent the afternoon trying to do a month’s worth of gardening. I didn’t succeed, and the garden doesn’t look noticeably any more gardened, but the chard and beetroot are all planted out, there are slightly fewer weeds – oh and I’ve got sunburn down the back of my arms and legs.

I still have an inbox full of stuff I should be doing that I’ve been putting off while the work has been relentless, and there’s still a pile of work to be done tomorrow and Tuesday. There’s a little voice in my head that says I’ll regret not spending some of today getting on with that (if only because of the sunburn). But actually, a day spent away from the screen and out in the garden was exactly what I needed.

Potatoes in May

* Inevitably, someone’s going to comment here or on Twitter about how it’s perfectly possible to transport compost by bike, and how people move house by bike in the Netherlands etc. etc. Indeed, I have access to a bike trailer that would quite happily fit a 50 litre bag of compost. And I invite anyone who’s keen to point out the evils of our car-driving ways to come and cycle it eight miles uphill from the garden centre to our house.

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Forking Out

April 3, 2014

Just in time for peak planting season, I have lost my favourite, indeed only, garden fork. Regular readers will be aware that this is a more or less weekly occurrence, but this time the loss appears to be more serious – and yes, I have gone through the compost heap. Twice. This doesn’t mean it won’t be found – but I couldn’t afford to find it by way of the traditional means of looking for something completely unrelated after you have long given it up for lost. So I went for the accelerated, if more pricey means of finding something, by buying a replacement (I have acquired several pairs of secateurs this way, not that this means much when it comes to laying a hand on one in a hurry).

new fork

The new fork was surprisingly cheap (well, I have no idea how much a fork should cost but £2.99 for fork with a wooden FSC-certified, if rather lurid, handle seemed like a good deal). So far it hasn’t achieved its primary purpose (making the old fork appear) nor its secondary one (actual forking), but it has at least managed a tertiary one (giving me something to blog about). And it does look as if it will be easier to find in future, at least until it fades into something a bit less orange.

I had forgotten about the lure of the garden centre, though. I tend to avoid them because even the ones which have turned themselves mainly into coffee shops with associated sensible clothing and garden statuary emporia, still have large displays of seed packets and I am an absolute sucker for seeds and always have been. I might have escaped had I just gone straight to the tools and then checked out, but I thought I’d better pick up some onion sets too, and then the seeds were right there and so colourful and each one individually very reasonably priced… So somehow I will now be finding room and time to plant white foxgloves and lavatera and night-scented stock and a free packet of mixed perennials that apparently contains everything from Acanthus to Viola…

In my head, of course, they are already blooming