I am an avid reader of books on both cookery and gardening. I love nothing better than to curl up and read about exotic recipes on the cookery side and dead-heading and mulching on the gardening side. People who don’t know me always assume that I have amazing cookery skills and a beautiful garden. Don’t get me wrong, I do very well in the cookery department, turning out tasty and nutritious meals, but following recipes is not my forte, I prefer to wing it. Gardening is, on the other hand, a different kettle of fish. My garden can only be described as a jungle or as I like to think of it, a wildlife haven.
Last year I planted sweet pea, that beautiful climbing plant. I watched and watered it carefully and tied it on to a trellis as best I could. Yes, I got lovely flowers, and flushed with success, I read all I could about the plant in my numerous gardening books. They all agreed you have to dead-head and pick them to keep the flowers coming. Straight away, I hit a major hurdle. I cannot bring myself to pinch out a living flower, even if it is starting to wither and turn brown. Every now and then someone would visit and pluck out the sorry looking flowers with a lecture about dead-heading. And the good result of this made me determined to ruthlessly cut short the life span of further flowers, and fill the house up with sweet smelling blooms. Alas, my good intentions were in vain, my scissors refused to harm the old and withered blooms.
I am the same with weeds; I start out with great intentions, but fall at the first weed. I stare at it and see the lovely little flower or interesting leaf shape and I can’t bring myself to pluck it, I’m of the opinion that weeds are flowers in the wrong place. A couple of weeks ago I noticed a wild thistle growing in one of my flower pots and went in for my little fork to take it out. By the time I got back it had developed a personality of its own and I knelt there admiring the lovely shape of it. I have been watching it ever since and the flower is as lovely as I expected it to be, it will probably seed and spread it’s offspring all over ,my garden, but I don’t care, it’s still lovely. A couple of days ago I hid myself away as my son cut down the crop of nettles all over my garden. Even though I think nettles have a beauty of their own, this was necessary so I could walk up and down my garden.
I still have a huge clump of a lovely purple flowered tall weed, and earlier in the year I got great pleasure from a bumper crop of dandelions, the vibrant yellow was a match for any marigold I ever tried to grow. I get great joy from the occasional seedling that escapes from nearby gardens and decides to grow alongside its wild cousins. I love to stop and stare at other peoples gardens, and admire their gardening skills, knowing I will never have that compliment paid to me.
I bought a lovely azalea at the weekend, and by the time I got it home it was looking a bit ragged and some of the flowers were turning brown. Well it sits on my deck now, in all its bedraggled glory, and if the wilted flowers fall off, well and good, but if not, so what, I still enjoy looking at it. My sons often offer to dig up weeds and turn the soil, but then what would happen, the same again.
I still envy other peoples gardens and I love visiting gardens and garden centres but I have given up all hope of owning a garden that will win best garden of the year. I will pretend to be an ecological nutcase who is intent on saving the local plant and insect life, while the people around me just think I’m a lazy slob. Whatever, I will enjoy my flowers and weeds, and pretend I can’t tell the difference, and to be truthful, for all my reading, I don’t think I can. But oh, I really wish I could weed.