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Thursday, 30 July 2009

Que Será Será

“Wouldn’t it be funny if you wrote loads of posts for The Guardian and then they discovered that you didn’t actually know how to garden?” my brother giggled, spraying red wine over me in the process. Well, no, no that wouldn’t be funny at all. Besides, that’s my “niche” right? The amateur gardener who has more failures than successes but never gives up hope. I’m the “ordinary person’s” gardener because I make other people look good by comparison. Right?

The next day someone commented on one of my posts and asked for tips on growing tomatoes and peppers in pots. Well what should I do? If I reply then she might think I actually know what I’m talking about. I glanced out of the window and saw my lovely little tomato plants bobbing in the wind, straining slightly under the weight of the hundreds of little red tomatoes decorating their stems. Well I suppose it wouldn’t hurt if I gave her my tips on tomato growing. I mean she did ask for my opinion. Right?

That evening I had a dream that I became a prize winning gardener. Then I had to teach myself how to be rubbish again because that’s my niche.

“Well you could slip the odd Latin name into your posts from time to time. You know, in a casual kind of way?” Mum tentatively suggested. I could see by her face that even she didn’t agree with what she was saying herself.

Does it really matter? Does it matter that I have absolutely no interest in learning the Latin derivative of a daisy and have no idea of the correct way to prune a dahlia? Between you and me, it’s actually worse than that: I don’t even know all of the names of the plants in my garden. The thing is I don’t care. Well I do care a little about the last one, but I don’t about the first two.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great learning new tricks and tips about gardening… the other day I read about hydrangeas changing the colour of their petals depending on the acidity of the soil (seriously amazing!)… it’s just I think gardening should be more accessible and I’m not convinced that speaking in Latin is the way to reach out to the masses.

I know that many more traditional gardeners will read this with horror… at least they would if they were actually to read this. And that’s fine. The thing is, when I started I could barely tell a tulip from a tree, but over the last couple of years or so I’ve learnt and grown (ba da boom), and now I’m actually becoming quite good at this gardening malarkey. Although, would you stop reading if I wasn’t?

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Anonymous said...

My grandmother in France used to change her hydrangeas colour by adding broken slate from reclaimed old roof slate (it contains a slow-release, organic form of aluminum sulfate) to change the blue hue.

(Tip number 2 from Ghis). I will try to keep them coming.

Anna dax said...

Hahahaha, Rach you have me giggling away. Thanks for being one of the few and far between, rare breeds (ba da boom), of down to earth people we need in this world!

Anonymous said...


you can use tea grounds. my mum had a massive hydrangea bush at the back of the house, and used to sling her tea grounds out of the kitchen window and into the garden, and them hydrangeas went pink! or blue! or whatever colour they weren't before. i dont know the chemistry of it; probably the same as the stolen roof slate.

incidentally i think hydrangeas are ugly, because it is so obvious when they are dead. And they are very Victorian in my mind, which docks them a few more points... but i suppose in the setting of a media hipster roofgarden, they would probably be ok.

Other plants which I identify with the Victorians and as such would not suggest toying with, ever are agapanthus, honeysuckle and the poppy anemone.

i hope this is useful to your readers.