June 15, 2011

Gardening? Isn’t that for the old people?

Filed under: Uncategorized — fluffyand40 @ 13:36

I confess, I’m turning into my mother.


Or at least the part of her that was obsessive about gardening.


Where once I would wail and moan about hours spent traipsing round garden centres or Wisley, now I actively look forward to going on a quest for that elusive plant or Sky+ Gardeners’ World so I can get the latest tips on how to propogate cuttings or grow something in that shady bed at the bottom of the garden that only gets the tiniest bit of sunshine every day.


Blame it on my mum, or indeed my maternal grandfather, who would spend hours lagging his greenhouse with bubble wrap to keep out the frost, and seemingly spent days pricking out seedlings and making sure that everything was watered assiduously before going on even the shortest shopping trip, let alone (God forbid!) a holiday!  He passed on his passion for gardening to my mum and I guess she passed it on to me.


And so now I seem to spend increasing amounts of time obsessing about the progress of our runner beans, bemoaning the plethora of slugs and snails that seem to appear at a minute’s notice (just when I’m not paying attention) or fretting about the lack of rainwater in our water butts – a big concern when you have a water meter, I can tell you!  Run a hose and Thames Water get enough cash to buy all their directors Porsches!


But when you look around, in the media, and in garden centres, you can see that, slowly but surely, a revolution is occurring.  Maybe it’s down to the whole “food miles” debate, or maybe it’s just that we’re sick of eating things swathed in pesticides, but growing your own has never been cooler or more popular!  Go to our local garden centre on any given afternoon and there are hoardes of yummy mummies (they get everywhere!) debating the different beetroot yields that they might get from the varieties on sale, or cooing over the latest sunflower varieties.  And while I know that, like our next door neighbour, the majority of them will simply hand over their purchases to their “hired help” when they get home, at least some of us are getting “down and dirty” and convening with nature on a semi-regular basis.


I must confess, I now find myself watching the weather forecast with unhealthy zeal, and tuning in to Gardeners’ Question Time on  Radio 4 at every opportunity (“I’m just waiting to see if they answer my question, honestly”!).  I certainly don’t want to eat things that have been doused in DDT before finding their way to my plate or purchase produce that has been forced on out of season and then flown thousands of miles (at what cost to the environment?) just so I can eat it whenever I like!  Our grandparents got through the war by “Digging for Victory” – eating strawberries at Christmas or swede in June would never have occurred to them!


And you only have to look at some of the “media” gardeners coming to the fore to see that (whisper it!) gardening’s sexy – Monty Don with his irresistible twinkle and battered jumpers that are just crying out for a hug, Diarmud Gavin with his cheeky grin, Dan Pearson with his educated yet slightly distracted air…they all have the look of men who know just what to do with their hands in the soil – and perhaps, by implication, when they’re indoors?  Carole Klein is cute and funny but men I know still go weak at the knees at the sight of Rachel De Thame, all fragrance and elegance, chopping randomly through a load of overgrown lavender with great aplomb.  I guess the thought goes that, if she can be that organised with a plant, just how much fun could they have when she takes THEM in hand?!


So don’t knock gardening ’til you’ve tried it – certainly, for me, the thought that a man is capable of hefting sacks of compost and creating something from a pile of earth is more than alluring…..


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