Pages

Friday, 4 May 2012

Eating the elephant

May is traditionally the month where I begin to feel an overwhelming sense of hopelessness about my garden. On a rare sunny day in March, Littlest and I usually plant things, channelling our inner Mr Bloom; and we water them and care for them and wait with bated breath for their arrival.

By May it is clear that none of them are going to grow. The spring onions - last year's sole success - have refused to play out at all this year, and the salad leaves I sprinkled boldly into a strawberry pot on the advice of a vegetable gardener are nowhere to be seen. Some pea plants have grown a centimetre tall, but they will not be joined in their stab at life by the neighbouring tomatoes. Or even the sunflowers. And this year, we have absolutely not even attempted any carrots.

Our garden is entered via a ramp and concreted area with walls which are turning green with moss. And not in a pretty, rambling countryside kind of way. They're doing it in a 'let this carry on, and all the rendering will fall right off' kind of way.

We're growing weeds. And bamboo - invasive, huge, waving, threatening bamboo, rampaging wildly in a head-height border at the side of the ramp. It looms over us as we enter, rustling its leaves ominously.

In Blogland, the world is filled with colourful flowers, but my garden resists them. All except two tulip bulbs, which have sprouted up merrily from the same pot that houses my inexplicably dying blueberry bush. I can't tell you why they did this. I didn't put them there. These tulips are even more interesting because the gazillions of tulips that I did plant a couple of years ago in a border nearby have never even bothered coming up.

My patio pot cherry tree leans queasily to one side.

The lawn can be described in one syllable - peh.

It would be easy to become completely dejected. But yesterday I took advantage of a brief sunny spell to de-moss and paint several metres of wall. Just a small start. It's all about eating the elephant, I've decided. You do it in little chunks.

Because let's face it, it looks like elephant is the only thing we'll be eating from our garden this year. Elephant, and possibly a few peas.

What about you? Are you eating any elephants this year?

25 comments:

  1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one.. We have an allotment, which is now once again covered with brambles. They're too big to leave any space for anything else and too small to get us any blackberries in September. Snif. I barely have the time to drink my coffee (or read blogs! help!) - so no gardening this year.. Oh well. At least we won't be accidentally killing any slow worm this year..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least with an allotment it's not right outside your kitchen window, right? Out of sight, out of mind...

      Delete
  2. I ripped out the one attractive bed we had in order to plant vegetables. Right before the rain started. By the time it stops it will be too late to plant anything so we will have a weed ridden bare patch but the end of the summer. Deep joy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, eating the elephant is the way to go. The chunk of elephant I have tackled is a patch about 3 foot by 2 foot (simply enormous) which I planted with daffodils and native woodland bluebells. My mum gave me some foxgloves which I planted at the back. It's been a success by and large. The daffs flowered for ages and the bluebells are just beginning to flower. Unfortunately they are clearly not native woodland bluebells but Spanish bluebells. I shall be sending a photo of them to the nursery I bought them from.

    ReplyDelete
  4. In Japan, learning to look at a thing of beauty and appreciating it in spite of its surroundings, is a valued skill, which helps when confronted by a bank of vending machines at the gateway to some beautiful temple.

    Gaze at your tulips, listen to the rustling bamboo, feel zen. My seed packets are probably more attractive than the real thing would have been had I managed to plant them. I will go and gaze on them.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have bind weed popping up everywhere...and rhubarb which thrives on neglect - although saying that one of my cats like to pay a visit to my vegetable bed where it grows on a daily basis to do a spot of digging....I can't say what she's doing but I don't think it involves seeds.
    I had also had 2 tulips but they have been blown over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least it's your own cat - not someone else's. We have some lovely 'visitors' to our strawberry bed.

      Delete
  6. Our blueberry bushes have grown a whole FIVE blueberries over the last six years. My allotment has a fine crop of dock, and I daren't go there to start digging them out as I'm sure I'll bury my car in the mud and have to hail a passing tractor to pull me out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What is it with blueberries? I've had about five as well. Or maybe six. Is that showing off?

      Delete
  7. I had to stop reading at the word "bamboo". shudder... We gave up growing anything from seed long ago. Too depressing. At least with those little 6 packs I have something more substantial to watch wilt in the sun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have just been out this morning and bought plug tomato plants. I may even lie and tell the kids I grew them. It can't hurt.

      Delete
  8. we will be eating nettle soup as I am growing a lot of those..... I have bought little tomato plants and they are telling me it is too cold to grow. and they are promising heavy frost tonight, so everything that is growing (except the nettles) will die anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have two tiny tomato plants which will have to grow indoors, outside is too clay-like. You have my sympathy over the elephant.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Does trying to learn to play the piano count as elephant eating? I've been having lessons since January and am still not very good. (Probably like most people after four months but - hmm.)

    Plants, now. I can do plants. Even seeds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think pianos can be elephants, yes. Of course they can.

      Delete
  11. We kill everything we plant.
    We have some dirt and lots of shade.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I just wish it would stop raining enough to go look in the garden.

    I have something that resembles a clematis that is growing sideways along the path as it steadfastly refuses to grow up the cane.

    Ah now - your bamboo - cut it and sell it to owners of errant clematis :-) Sorted.

    x

    ReplyDelete
  13. Well, I was planning to strip Second Born Son's bed and tidy his room. That's an elephant-eating size of a task, I suspect.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I won't tell you the tales of my husband trying to kill off a bamboo whose roots probably went all the way to china... but if it makes you feel better the only things to be growing in my garden are balls: football, rugby, cricket, tennis, hockey, softball, hardballs, bouncy balls...

    any recipe will be greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Elephants seem to be about the only thing on the menu this year...

    ReplyDelete
  16. we solved our elephant by slapping a shedload of decking on top of it and leaving a raised bed at either end of it that we fill with supermarket bought annuals.Eventually when I neglect them enough the annuals begrudgingly flower and look quite pretty so on the one day of the year we can actually call Summer I can sit out on my decking and admire their beauty without having the hassle of looking after them lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a very smart idea! Cover it up. That's kind of like shoving everything in a cupboard and closing the door, right?

      Delete
  17. You are too funny. Gosh do your words reflect my own garden.

    Just a note about the blue berries, we put ours in rubbish soil that had lots of pine needles in it from an overhanging tree, and gave it a cup of coffee every morning (really!) and it grew huge, about four feet tall and equally large around, and produced berries by the bucket full. Acidic soil and a morning cuppa, one sugar, no milk, seemed to be the trick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? Coffee? I can try it, but I'm not too good at sharing...

      Delete

I love comments. I always try to respond - either here in the commentbox or by email if Blogger gives me your email address.

Thanks for visiting!