Preparing for the year ahead – and beyond!

Rosy and Daisy are getting married next year – very exciting! Preparing for a wedding today seems very different to when Grumbling Rose and I got married over 40 years ago. My Mum & Dad did most of the organising – well, my Mum did the organising and my Dad paid up! I went to my first wedding fair with Rosy last weekend – I don’t recall there being such things back in the 80s. There were all the stands you’d expect – venues, photographers, rings, cakes, table decorations, stationery, cars and wedding attire. Entertainment was also high on the agenda – singers, musicians, comedy acts, photo booths and selfie mirrors, to name but a few. What I hadn’t bargained for were stands touting tooth whitening and straightening, botox and fillers – mind you, maybe I should look into this. For some reason every exhibitor immediately assumed Rosy was the bride to be? The one thing I would have expected, that wasn’t in evidence, was flowers – a bride needs a beautiful bouquet don’t you think? This is a slightly fuzzy and faded photo of the one I carried, mainly made up of fragrant roses and stephanotis.

When I arrived home from the wedding fair I discovered a casualty on my driveway. The strong winds we’ve been having had ripped the trunk of my very old Choisya from its roots – its other name is Mexican orange blossom, which is much easier to say! I’m really sad – it usually flowered both Spring and Autumn and I enjoyed the beautiful fragrance each time I got in and out of my car. Having read that they root very easily, I hastily took some cuttings, in the hope that I can grow sons and daughters of Choisya. However I don’t hold out too much hope because the Problem Page in the latest edition of Amateur Gardening, delivered the crushing news that you should replace your rooting powder every season – mine has seen at least 10!

This week I’ve been in a tidying mood – well when I say that, on my list was a choice – tidying gardening stuff or clearing out wardrobe – the gardening stuff won – the wardrobe is too daunting. I have 2 boxes in the garage in which I keep my small gardening tools, gloves, bottles of plant feed, rooting powder (might replace), slug deterrent (I don’t kill them, just make things taste horrid for them) etc etc. Having turfed everything out I had to give the boxes a brush and a shake – I found all sorts in the bottom – dead spiders, dried out leaves, soil and for some reason a nappy pin? Anyway the contents now look really orderly – that won’t last long! Next I tackled my old bread bin which serves as storage for seed packets. This task started to look as overwhelming as I imagine the wardrobe will be. I counted no less than 84 packets! They were nearly all “free” with either Garden News or Amateur Gardening which Victoria and I share. I pulled myself together and decided to group the packets into some semblance of order, based on the months when they could be sown and whether that would be in or outdoors.

I’d promised myself (and Grumbling Rose, who is handily away ski-ing for another week) I wasn’t going to start sowing seeds quite so early as I did last year. If you remember our conservatory became a greenhouse for at least 6 months 😬. However, I discovered quite a number of seed packets that advise to start from January and February, so I thought I better get a move on! My incubators house 8 little cots so I chose to sow Alyssum, Cerinthe, Chilli, Cleome, Laurentia, Lobelia (trailing and upright) and Malope (never heard of these but they were free with Amateur Gardening and Sarah Raven looks impressed with them) – oh, and I also sowed some more sweet peas. I have taken my propagators (I do prefer the term incubators) into the conservatory but I’ve put them on the floor, concealed by a chair – I will have to prepare Grumbling Rose for the reappearance of my temporary shelving next month though.

Actually I did sow some sweet peas, larkspur and violas in September but they’re in one of my plastic greenhouses and look to be doing OK-ish although there are a number of no-shows, particularly among the violas. By the way, I am sowing for two now, as I will also hopefully be supplying plants for Rosy and Daisy’s garden.

I just have to show you this – I’ve also been sorting through some of my Dad’s belongings this week and I came across some of his school books – this is one of the pages from his Botany and Zoology exercise book dated 1949 – he would have been 16 – pretty impressive I’d say!

Just a couple of quick updates since my last blog – there’s been no sign of prospective tenants checking out the Tit Box but I think you’ll agree, Rosy’s amaryllis has flowered spectacularly!

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  1. I laughed out loud at ‘tooth whitening and straightening, botox and fillers’ on offer at the wedding fair. How the world has changed.
    You’ve had such a productive time, Belinda. I love your incubators – If your Cerinthe are successful I would love to take one off your hands. Don’t know anyone called Bernard, though.
    Your dad’s botany diagrams are fabulous, what a lovely thing to have found x


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