Seeing red (& blue & purple)

Yes I’m seeing red! Those pesky fungus gnats are back – buzzing round all my tiny seedlings. So, I ordered some more nematodes – they worked well last year. A week after they’d arrived I read the instruction packet and realised I’d forgotten something. If you aren’t going to use them straight away, you need to put them in the fridge. Well, waste not want not, I still gave them a try – so far no more gnats, but I don’t know what the incubation period for their grubs is, so time will tell.

I was listening to GQT the other day (that’s what we professional gardeners call Gardeners’ Question Time). The GQT experts suggested that a good way to zap fungus gnats is to freeze your compost. I don’t know what size their freezers are but this is certainly not an option for me! Anyway the compost bags have been outside in all the freezing weather we’ve had, and that didn’t do the trick. Actually, while I mention GQT, I was listening to an episode from last year, which marked the 75th anniversary of the programme. I tell you what – if I’d been listening in the programme’s early years, I would have been put off gardening for life! There was a replay of a question from a woman in 1947 about how, where, why, if and when you could use soot from your fire on your garden. The pompous male expert replied ‘that’s just typical of a woman, getting 5 questions asked all for the price of one‘. In 1961 a member of the studio audience asked how he could revive a rather sad looking Christmas cactus in time for next year. The expert replied ‘you’ll be lucky if it flowers then! That pot’s too big for a start …‘ The tone of the experts is very different now – they really seem to want to encourage people to garden. I think the earlier panel members wanted to maintain an air of mystery and be considered far superior to the average gardener.

Luckily my garden is currently a calming space, full of beautiful purples and blues. I’d love to say this was by design – you know, one of those carefully thought out colour palettes they talk about on gardening programmes. No, it’s just where I’ve plonked things – many of which were donations from Victoria’s garden.

Talking of Victoria – she left me a ‘doorstep hug‘ in the form of a miniature vase of beautiful flowers from her garden. Today it will be 2 years since I lost my lovely mum, so a hug is most welcome.

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