It’s grey, it’s wet and on a regular basis, just grim outside. Here in the UK we’ve had storm after storm, we batten down the hatches and try to stay warm and dry indoors. We are at the end of winter and slightly despairing about spending so much time indoors. But in my heart, as in every gardeners heart, is pure hope and optimism.
It starts with holding a small packet of seed or noticing through the window a bare branch or twig with little swelling green buds. I step outside and stare at my plants one by one. Some I know exactly what they are and recall their leaves and blooms from previous years immediately. Others I can’t remember at all and I search for some piece of evidence that might jog my memory. It doesn’t matter because I know, in just a couple of months time, as buds burst and leaves grow, all will be revealed.
I’ve sown some sweet peas in pots and I look longingly at the plain brown soil waiting for a glimmer of life, a tiny green shoot that has all the promise of warm summer evenings filled with sweet scent and a small posy of colourful flowers adorning the kitchen table.
The journey begins now, the rushing memories of years past and the burgeoning of hope for another year to come.
To be honest, you wouldn’t believe I am a gardener when you see my back yard. However the number of plants I have bought over the years could fill this space at least 5 times over. The fact is that whilst the yard receives sun for a great part of the day, it is also assaulted regularly by salt laden winds of hurricane-like proportions that leave devastation in their wake. The times I have woken up to plants in a pile at the end of the yard and pots smashed to smithereens does not bear thinking about. I have also filled my kitchen with plants for days on end to save them from the raging elements.
Finally I have just given up and given in. My yard is now a place for relaxation on a hot summers day where I can lie in my hammock and read a book and not be tempted to tend to plants.
Nevertheless I have a few seed trays on the go, just a few that can be brought inside quite easily. Now is the time to sow the seeds of Honesty, Wallflowers, Foxgloves and Violas. It is great sowing at this time of year because the seeds germinate quickly and can grow outside quite robustly without getting leggy on a windowsill. Just beware of the demon slugs and snails. Every day I move my seedlings to a new position just to confuse those little critters.