Friday, May 18, 2018

SHERINGHAM DIARY 14 ~ Climbing into Monty Don's Trousers

Maybe its a sign of advancing age when your role model becomes Monty Don. A man full of genial encouragement like a treasured bachelor Uncle.  Rambling about his garden splitting, replanting and snipping at bushes. With his hair like it was washed in rain water and left to dry in a breeze at the break of dawn. Dressed in crumpled shirts that look like he slept the night in an armchair after an long evening of conviviality with red wine. His trousers sewn together with hope and held firmly up by braces, his ginger dogs loyally following his every wellington covered step. Yes, our gardening enthusiasm has now reached its horticultural peak, we devotedly watch Gardeners World every week. So quiet and laid back, its a soothing addiction.

Never having had a garden of our very own to develop, we've surprised ourselves by how we've embraced the purpose of growing things. What started off as, 'our garden needs something putting in it' has rapidly progressed to avidly measuring how much the pea plants have grown overnight. I never imagined I'd feel excited by a leaf shoot appearing on a jasmine plant. It shows how proprietorial we've become, that its now all about 'Our Garden'.

Handmade furnishings in Japanese Indigo Print fabrics  

Every weekend for the last month, we've made one, sometimes two, visits to our garden centre of choice in Overstrand. Just when we think we've finished, we suddenly think, 'Oh, wouldn't it be good if we had.....' and off we'll tootle. To buy lettuce plants, tomatoe plants, planters or a hanging basket, whatever the latest fetish is. Rather than watch the royal wedding, we went on an essential quest to find the right colour of pea gravel to edge our front entrance pavement.

Jnanasalin is as bitten by the bug as I am. It's quite endearing to see him being so attentive and nurturing, watering or feeding the plants with care and dedication. Gardening as a project has been easy to get our teeth into. Ideas are relatively quickly realised, just plant, regularly apply water, stand back, observe and wait whilst nature does its thing. Niether of us finds our current employment in any way satisfying or creative. So in the absence of the cafe project developing momentum, its been good for us to find an honest bit of creative diversion to salve the heart of some of its emotional strain and yearning.

But boy have we had some waiting to do. Waiting for the dratted weather to warm up mainly, so I could clean, sand and repaint the decking. Then there was the arbour and pavement border fences to paint and assemble. And we had to wait for Spring to arrive, its here, then its not, its here, then gone again. Delaying not just our planned schedule, but the onset of plant growth. So its been one prolonged practise of cultivating acres of space to be patient in, reinforced just a  teeny weeny bit by faith that whatever Monty says will happen, will eventually happen.

The transformation of our garden spaces from how they were less than a year ago, has been dramatic and inspiring. Both our front and back gardens are small and the way previous tenants set them up, makes them unsuitable for the traditional cottage garden. That suits us fine as we're just not old fuddy duddy enough for the twee nostalgia of country rusticism.

In the front garden, we had to banish a truly ugly satellite dish, give away five pavement slabs laid out in a cross formation, then dig out and replace the horrible white fibreglass pavement edging. Keeping the lawns of blue shale pieces and the cotoneaster hedge, we now have a simple yet stylish garden based around beds of jasmines, japonicas, acers, convolvulus and hydrangeas, edged with grey coastal flint pebbles.


Whilst for the back garden we've made creative use of containers and planters, so it has developed a quite neatly ordered structure. Now the decking has been repainted, the fences and arbour are in place, so the decked area is totally unrecognisable to how it was even a few months ago. The lavender bed and herb pots we planted nine months ago in September last year are now in a full and abundant flourish, as is the rhubarb bed.



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