About a year ago one of my oldest friends, who may I add is a very successful gardener and I am sure has been successful from the very start, bought me (also from his wife and my goddaughter) a wonderful present of a wooden planter with my name burnt into the side. It was filled with lovely herbs and he had added some rocket and lettuce as well I believe. Just the fact that he thought I'd be able to keep such a wonderful gift alive filled me with such warmth and I took said gift home convinced as well that it would surely be a doddle. Granted he had found said gift in a wishlist that I had showed them.
Alas, what I now know as "gone to seed" happened a month or so after despite my care and attention and soon after that the whole thing was covered in what looked like a white fluff but at closer inspection revealed itself to be scary little white insects. The planter was in our conservatory and I thought that would make it safe from such unsavoury happenings but no.
Ick ick ick - makes me shudder as I type.
Mike is not the only person to believe that I can enjoy, and be a success, at gardening. One of my other friends has been doing fabulously in her garden as well. She has been shockingly enthusiastic from the start. I admire both of them and hope that eventually I will GET IT.
But today I didn't GET IT. Oh yes a week ago I put some potted herbs that I bought in the supermarket into a grow bag that I also bought for a quid from the same supermarket. It was supper easy, required little effort and a week later is still looking fab, although the parsley is not sure whether it wants to look sickly or healthy yet and does a great impression of both on alternating days.
Yesterday I dragged my poor boyfriend around the pound shop to try and keep my costs down as much as possble. Oh you can find loads of things to make your garden fab and it is true that I went a bit over the top.
I now have sunflowers, various fruit/veg and potatoes that I now need to not kill. I'm getting tired just thinking about how I'm going to ruin that lot but at least they only cost a quid each.
I then subjected my poor suffering man to B&Q. I had a whale of a time in their and totally went over my budget of £25 gift card given to me from the latter successful gardener friend and £20 left over from other birthday monies.
Following the B&Q catalogue project to the tee I grabbed (too many) trailing flowers and uprights (too many) and various types of compost (too much) including a potato sack and a suitably gothic planter and water-holding crystals and what turned out to be another pack of water holding crystals with feed. Bugger! I also purchased a stunning Japanese Acer which I've been after for a while. The leaves are purple what can I say.
Poor Nathan spent the whole time shaking his head, muttering curses under his breath and probably wondering if his love could really stretch this far after all.
Yes there I was tripping about, shivering my ample posterior off, wondering which purple flower I should get and feebly trying to pick up all the wrong types of compost.
It was when it came to pay that I realised I may have taken my mini obsession a little bit too far. It wasn't majorly expensive but it was £30 quid over what I had planned.
Add to this the new shelving we had bought and we were certainly a comical sight to behold each desperately trying to drag our (my) purchases to the car using two broken, wobbly trolleys. Poor old Norman (the Japanese Acer with an impossibly Japanese name) fell off Nathans trolley and almost got crushed by a landslide of shelving.
Once we're home we arrange everything as safe as possible in the garden then set to putting up our very first shelves with Nathan on the drill. Hmm perhaps this should be another blog - "a first-time homeowners inept guide to DIY" perhaps. Lets just say, after Nathan had drilled two holes and jiggered up a third - we both realised that we'd put it on the wrong wall.
Anywho... in the evening we try very badly to do a meal and cinema and end up driving in a circle from Lewisham to Greenwich and almost back which took an HOUR (usually its a 10 min round trip) just to realise that we'd make neither dinner and cinema combined in a suitable time and went to Blockbusters and a fab sushi place in Catford instead. I think it is clear that me and Nathan are well suited in our ability to not quite do anything right first-time. I'm almost proud of it now.
To cut to the chase. At about 5pm I found myself being ganged up by snails, covered in compost, sitting on the grass in a heap of dirt and polystyrene and tears, desperately trying to cut holes into the liner of my first of three basket containers, knowing that there is no way I can SIMPLY push such delicate plants through said holes without causing irreparable damage. I knew this because I had unsuccessfully pushed ivy through holes in the sorry looking planter I had done before.
In the project photo, his basket - that is Alan Titchmarsh's basket is in bloom and looks lovely after he puts it together. Because I chose to not be seduced by already flowering plants, my two baskets and planter look very sad indeed. I think my neighbours may have heard my mutterings and yells and got scared that I was now talking to the hoodie snails (well it is South London) that were circling me.
I'm not feeling the love.
I'm not feeling very optimistic.
I will add photos soon.
p.s I have been reading some fabulous books which will help any aspiring gardener to know exactly what they should be doing and what they have done wrong when they give it a go.
"How To Grow Practically Everything" by the Royal Horticultural Society published by DK books.
"The Thrifty Gardener" by Alys Fowler