Well, almost two years to the day since my last post on this blog, I’m picking up more or less where I left off… Except that this year’s Spring is well under way already. And, of course, there’s the current unpleasantness to contend with.
Gardening has suddenly become all the rage, with newspapers full of ‘how to’ articles exhorting people to use their new-found free time to grow vegetables, dig ponds, refresh their houseplants, make over their tired plots and the rest. There has been, for the past week at least, a sense that we’re somehow faced with a slightly extended Bank Holiday weekend (minus the traffic jams on roads to the seaside). This, coupled with what have been some lovely, sunny days, has sent everyone scurrying into their gardens to tidy up, enjoy some fresh air, and get going.
Easter is the time when ‘lay gardeners’ (if I can call them that) start to venture forth, cutting lawns and even getting the rusty barbecue out from the back of the shed. The Easter weekend is therefore – normally (remember ‘normal’?) – the busiest time of the year for nurseries and garden centres. Not this year. The unavailability of compost, seeds and bedding plants will doubtless bring many folks’ good intentions to a sudden halt. Mail order suppliers will certainly enjoy a bit of a boom, which is good news for them – especially the smaller ones – but will it last?
I’m sort-of-regretting that I handed back the key to my allotment last year. It had become a burden rather than a pleasure, and offered diminishing returns as regards produce. But there were some fantastic rhubarb plants, which would have kept us in crumbles for the duration.
And my ‘day job’, looking after Horatio’s Garden at Salisbury District Hospital, has taken a surreal turn. The garden is still open, as the patients in the Spinal Injury Centre are in need of it more than ever. Being able to leave the wards and enjoy a spell of fresh air, sunshine and birdsong will doubtless make the long days a little more bearable. So, I am able to get in and ensure that the garden is safe (no fallen branches or toppled planters) and lovely, but then get out of the way by late morning when patients begin to come out. There is also a greenhouse full of plants and seedlings to keep an eye on, as well as our polytunnel/nursery. Sadly, the annual Plant Sale – for which many of these plants were being grown – has fallen victim to the lock-down: but I can keep many of them for next year, and those which won’t last can be used for a spot of ‘guerrilla gardening’ around the hospital site if that will brighten the place up a bit at this difficult time.
I will try to keep posting now, and share with you some of what I am up to. I’m off Twitter at the moment, but am putting photos from the garden on Instagram, should you care to have a look.
Thanks for reading, and stay well.