Well this week my garden has been flourishing, blooming, sprouting, burgeoning and any other sort of growing words you’d care to mention. I’d love to claim that it’s my own inherent gardening skill coming to the fore, that I’ve been watering, talking to the plants, playing them Mozart and they’ve all sprung to life accordingly.
But no, not apart from the watering. I had a gardening fairy pay me a visit.
It started, as all good modern fairy tales do, with a text message after I posted last week’s garden update:
” the plant on the left is sweetcorn. The other is a weed x would you like some new strawberry plants?”
Would I?! Yes please I very much would.
A handful of text messages later and my lovely aunt was on her way.
What makes my complete absence of gardening skill all the funnier is that she’s a farmer with a real full size arable farm over near Kidderminster, hence the strawberries (they have a farm shop and the best pick your own in the entire world – not that I’m biased or anything!)
All morning the girls were bubbling with excitement, they were hopping up and down on the front bank and when she arrived and stepped out of her car carrying the most enormous punnet of “here’s one I grew earlier” strawberries I thought for a minute they might be going in for a rugby tackle rather than a hug.
We duly inspected the veg beds, which were possibly even smaller than she expected if such a thing was possible and established that we have exactly two sweetcorn off the entire packet that we planted. But it turns out that that might just have been a good thing because when we put the strawberries in the kitchen and went to look at the boot, my garden fairy had brought me an instant garden, and as it covered the entire floor of the boot we were going to need some space.
Quite a lot of space.
And fuelled by cups of tea and hobnobs (the grown ups) and the majority of a pack of party rings which seemed to mysteriously disappear whenever I turned my back on the biscuit tin (the girls), we set to. Whatever gaps we could find in the back garden were hastily weeded with a spade and first Elma and then Kitty helped plant up three sunflowers, a couple of packets of Cosmos, some Marigolds, a Dahlia, the pretty ones with purple leaves that no amount of googling will help me remember their name and a couple of other things that I keep staring at and thinking “I know I should know what you are”. And that’s before we got to the veg garden.
There’s a tomato plant now sunning itself on my patio and we called time on the possibility of any more seeds making an appearance and planted strawberries where there might once have been sweetcorn , strawberries where there might once have been rainbow chard,
and two courgettes and some beans in the half of the spinach that has either failed to germinate or been eaten.
It all looks wonderful and I’m reliably informed that 60 days from last Friday I’m going to have a very nice little crop of strawberries.
But while the garden is all different sorts of lovely, the best bit was undoubtedly getting to spent the day with my aunt. No only is she wonderful company for me but the girls adore her (and not just because of the strawberries), and we all had so much fun just hanging out in the garden, having lunch in the sunshine and then going up to the park and to the school fete. Part of it of course is that I’m delighted that they’re learning gardening skills from someone who can actually grow things.
And the other part, well my Mum was a keen veggie grower, that was always her part of the garden and I know that she would have loved helping the girls get stuck into growing things, and as I watched and tried to prevent Pip from eating all the available soil there was just a flicker of a moment in watching her little sister teaching her granddaughters that felt so utterly comfortable and as if it should be familiar. It felt like having Mum with me again. And that is a thousand times more precious than any strawberry.
So thank you garden fairy – you gave us a very lovely and very special day x
PS – I know being told you’re like your oldest sister isn’t always a compliment, but in this case it really really is!
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