Gardening teaches you to be pragmatic. Phlegmatic even. And perhaps a little philosophical.
You carefully select the seeds for the plants you’d love to grow. You plant the seeds and wait for them to germinate, checking every few days for the tiny shoots. (It’s such a thrill when they appear.) The seedlings grow and you carefully transfer them to larger pots, so their roots can spread and the plants can grow. You water them when the compost is dry and you shade them when the sun is too strong. You carry trays of them outdoors when the weather is fine, so they can get used to being outside, get a little buffeted by the wind and grow strong, healthy stems. You carry them back into the greenhouse at night to protect them. Then, when the conditions are right, you transfer your precious plants outside for good and tuck them into the soil. They’re on their own now, in the big wide world, taking their chances with the weather and the wildlife.
The wildlife… Thankfully I don’t have to contend with rabbits. Or deer. But what we have in abundance here this year (and I know we’re not alone) are slugs and snails. Giant slugs and snails. And these munching molluscs have been feasting on my plants. Not just a little nibble here and there out of a leaf. Oh no. These molluscs are mean. They’ve been scaling the stems of my sunflowers and long-awaited drumstick alliums and gnawing right through the stems so that the flowerheads keel over and, in some cases, fall off. It is quite dispiriting.
On the other hand, there are some plants that I’ve raised from seed this year that seem relatively unscathed (so far): the borage, Cerinthe major, most of Nicotiana (although two have been munched to the ground) and the Californian poppies are doing fine.
And the wild patch at the bottom is still blooming beautiful. So that’s good. Very good indeed.
In other news, it’s been mostly glorious weather here this week, apart from a few cracking thunder storms. I’ve been mostly stuck indoors, though, proof reading a lovely cookery book. Sitting down for long periods is most definitely not good for you, is it? I find myself almost hobbling into the kitchen to get a mug of coffee, and it takes a while to arch and stretch back into shape. I try to get up every hour or so and walk around a bit, pop into the garden, hang out the washing, run up and down the stairs, but I try not to get too distracted. I’m enjoying the work and it’s great to have it but I do find the sitting still and being indoors rather hard at this time of year. (I’m now imagining you tutting – yes, I am at home and not in an office; yes, at least I can go into the garden…)
My eldest is over half way through his GCSEs. They’re going ‘ok’ so far, he says. It’s best not to ask too many questions, I find, but I’m keeping a weather eye on him. My other two have had three days of end-of-year tests but they’re finished now. I’ve told them not to gloat. Or to even breathe a word about it.
Right, I’m off to stick a few fish fingers in the oven. I’ve spent the last few days reading delicious recipes but fish fingers is all I can summon up the energy for this evening. I don’t think the children will mind 🙂