THE Scribbler is no good at gardening. Just can’t do it. He has tried, yes he has. He has made an effort.

The Scribbler has read books. He quite enjoys the gardening programmes on the television. Especially that one where they all seem to work on the same garden, and it has lots of different sections. Where they grow vegetables that make you feel hungry just watching, and at the same time, they have amazing flower beds full of colour and life.

I am looking at my garden now. (Through a window, obviously). I might go out in it later, and fiddle about for a bit. But not if it is too cold, or rainy.


(Note well tended patio pots in foreground)

My old man was an amazing gardener. He was a country boy, from deepest Sussex, and he loved gardens, loved nature, loved the countryside. Our garden back home was  brilliant. Immaculate lawn , amazing flowers, shrubs and all kinds of stuff. I have friends who are brilliant gardeners. You go round to their houses and their gardens are gloriousy organised little oases of peace, quiet and beauty.

Or even worse, they have these deliberately messy “wild” sort of gardens, cottage gardens I think they are called. They look unkempt, overgrown, but they still look great. Mine is unkempt and overgrown, but it still doesn’t look as good as theirs.

Do a little bit at a time, they say. Each day, do a bit. Don’t leave it to one big clear up. Work it constantly.

Doesn’t matter. The Scribbler doesn’t know the names of plants, apart from the obvious – red robin, roses, foxgloves,  daffodils. And when you look in a book and see a plant you might like, you go down to the garden centre ( I like garden centres though I don’t know why. I think just being in one makes you feel like you might be able to be a proper gardener) – but they are never there. Just a host of other plants with indecipherable Latin names.

And the Scribbler is not sure when to plant them. And if the soil is right – and should they be in shade? And then weeks or even months later, when (more likely if) something appears, he is quite likely to dig it up thinking it is a weed. And then there are slugs. They did for my efforts once.

And look. I can  get technical. Berrylands has clay soil. So, on advice, I dug some silver sand into my beds. (That was hard work). Has it made much difference? Not really. The soil is still sticky, still comes out in clumps. Not like on that BBC programme where it is all crumbly and moist and easy to dig. They cheerfully scoop out a bit, plant something, and then the next week there it is, all bright and springy.

I like a nice lawn, mind. I actually re-sowed a bit of mine – and I’m always trying to root out the moss. I like to mow it and have it looking neat. But it never quite does. Not like other people’s, not like Monty Dons, or whatever his name is.

And the odd thing is, I like my garden. I like to go out and stand in it with a cup of tea, drink in the peace, make the odd phone call. I just ignore the chaos around me, obviously.

Of course, The Scribbler can prune. Oh yes he can. Cut down, trim back, dig out, take it all down the dump. It is the other bit, the creative bit, the planting and the nurturing that is the problem.

Bit windy today. I’ll leave it.

The Scribbler

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