From small beginnings


This is the first in a series of irregular columns about gardening, some of which will feature allotment holders among Rye News‘ volunteers, some of which will feature “proper gardeners”, and some of which will feature an “allotment-type garden”.

A major problem with any sort of growing is getting the weather to co-operate. A lot like sailing really – or even cricket.

The Easter weekend’s warmth seemed to signal that it was time to plant out seedlings which had been happily growing on a bedroom windowsill at first and then in the sun in the sitting room as pictured above.

So out went the seedlings, mainly into grow bags and, as usual, for reasons that are not always clear, some – like children – thrive, while others struggle. I know as I have four children and four grandchildren.

Regular watering and good shelter helps in a town, but in a coastal location on a hillside, shelter is not always possible.

Peas lurk behind a clematis and compete for climbing space

However hiding some of the peas behind a clematis (shown above) seems to encourage their competitive spirit and careful stringing should keep the plants apart.

Marrows occupied that spot last year, but marrows can be the most boring thing to cook so it is really wise not to grow too many.

However, though I do blame the weather, it does seem to be a fact of life that some seeds and some seedlings just fail to flourish.

Some plants however seem to go on and on and on, and my single “trad” flowerbed in the one corner that gets absolutely no sun whatsoever produces rhubarb every year (see photo below) – as well as potatoes, despite my best efforts.

The seed potatoes came from the farm shop in the cattle market some years ago and each year I think I have dug them all up – and the following year they are back again.

My climbing plants, mainly planted to hide the fence, also seem to survive my worst efforts to destroy them.

At this time of year I leave my pruning efforts on the grass as birds are busy scavenging to build their nests – and my rough-cut lawn also seems to have a very large worm population.

Rhubarb flourishes along with seed potatoes and strawberries, while broad beans germinate in the hanging baskets at the back – which will be hung up in due time!

On the other hand my hostas (emerging from their bulbs again) seem to be attracting some very hungry insect life and have been hidden away again in bin bags until they have grown stronger and perhaps less edible.

In the meantime another tranche of seeds is hopefully growing on my bedroom window which gets the morning sun – though the orchids still seem to be hibernating.

But the orchids’ leathery leaves feel full of life and I can imagine our ancestors conjuring up clothes from these offerings from nature – though whether I could live off the land remains to be seen.

Image Credits: John Minter .

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