More news from the pre-tirement frontline.
Gardening is the new rock and roll, they say. That may be and the profusion of TV programmes, magazines and extortionate and over-crowded garden centres testify to the interest in horticulture.
For me it is all very simple if you follow the Frimleyblogger golden rules of gardening. The first is that it is the plant’s natural instinct to want to grow and pretty much regardless of what you do it will try to find a way to pop up. The second is that a weed is merely a plant which is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many a domestic will be avoided by studious observation of the second rule. If something isn’t where it should be, it is a weed – simple.
The division of garden chores between TOWT and me follows the typical female/male divide. I am in charge of destruction – pruning, chopping, tree felling and lawn manicure – while she is in charge of cultivation. Ever keen to push at the boundaries of sexual stereotyping I announced during the winter that I wanted to grow something this year. Of course, the next question was what.
I decided I didn’t want to stray on to TOWT’s traditional territory and thus elicit envious comparisons of our respective efforts by growing flowers. They seem a lot of effort for their undoubted beauty but essentially ephemeral existence. I wanted something more in your face, something that in its size reflects the effort and care I will have expended in aiding its growth. So, naturally, I settled on a pumpkin.
In good Soviet style I have a modest five-year plan in relation to my pumpkin growing activities. In the first year I want simply to grow one but by year three I want a prize in the local horticultural show (third place will do) and by the end of the five years nothing less than best in show will suffice.
Father Christmas brought me a Percy Pumpkin kit. Last weekend the guru of British gardening, the lugubrious Monty Don, announced it was time to plant your pumpkin seeds. This was the signal I was waiting for.
The kit consisted of a propagator with seven pots, some compost balls and a packet of seeds. As instructed I put the compost balls into warm water and they swelled in front of my eyes. I put half the compost into each of the pots and then opened the packet of seeds.
I don’t know about you but I find seeds perplexing. There are no markings on them to indicate which end is the top and which is the bottom. The instructions were to plant them on their side but which is the side? Trusting to instinct and remembering the first golden rule of gardening – if they were that desperate to survive they would head for the light despite my idiocy – I steeled my nerve and sowed them. A light dusting of water, putting the lid of the propagator on and positioning them, as instructed, in a place where they would get light (but not too much) and hey presto – job done!
Like all Soviet five-year plans I anticipate some adjustment to expectations and timelines as a result of the intervention of unanticipated events aka reality. I will keep you posted.