Kevin Smith's Blog

Day 600 - gardening

Thursday, 19 April 2012

I haven't blogged for ages because I've been working like the clappers. It sounds like a feeble excuse, but it's true - every spare moment I've had has been spent writing, editing or taking part in photo shoots. Of course I've also had Ida's gymnastics classes, music classes and play groups to keep up with, but they're par for the course. And we've been on holiday to the Isle of Wight, which set things back a bit. Anyway...

Luckily my work also involves a lot of gardening, which is thoroughly pleasant and an entirely appropriate topic to blog about given it's National Gardening Week. Since my last post I've had a general spring tidy up, re-potted two enormous trees (more on that below), sown far too much seed, fretted about the seasons/weather, dispaired about my tulips, panicked about the hosepipe ban and decided I need some Astroturf (or another equally fake brand).

Let's concentrate on the trees... Several years ago I was lucky enough to buy (very cheaply) a mature olive tree and a trachycarpus that were used in a show garden at BBC Gardeners' World Live. Unfortunately they've sat in their black, plastic nursery pots at the end of my garden ever since, as I've never been entirely sure what to do with them. I knew that I didn't want to plant them in the ground (just in case we move), but that was about it. After much procrastinating, I eventually decided  to re-pot them into large terracotta  pots. Well that was easier said than done, I can tell you.

I enlisted the help of my father- and brother-in-law, and promised them beer and a Thai takeaway if they'd give me a hand. It was a good job I got them on board as the trees were almost impossible to lift and had to be cut out of their pots with an electric saw – look, I'm not telling fibs:

After that we had to lay them down and roll them along the ground (battering every other plant imaginable along the way), before 'sliding' them into the pots and heaving them upright. That actually makes it sound quite simple but, believe me, there was a lot of grunting, huffing, puffing and swearing along the way. Anyway, it all turned out well and I think you'll agree it was worth the effort:

So, there we are. I'll not bother telling you about how the garden's totally confused by the weather. I wont' tell you how the tulips I planted for a Gardeners' World project are the wrong colour. I won't tell you how I'm going deal with the hosepipe ban. I might, one day, tell you about the Astroturf.

Until next time...

Oh, and just because I can, here are a few snaps of lovely gardens I've visited recently.

Osborne House, Isle of Wight
This was the second time we've visited and we weren't a bit disappointed. Just lovely.

The Princess Beatrice Garden, Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight (designed by Chris Beardshaw).
This was a great little garden, although a bit of imagination was needed to envisage what it would be like in the summer.

Mottistone Manor Garden, Isle of Wight.
They're working hard here to deal with drought and climate change. It's well worth a look.

The Winter Garden, Mottisfont, Hampshire
This small section of a very large garden is quite new, but looking lovely already.

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Kevin Smith | Garden Media Writer and Editor

On 31 August 2010 I quit my full-time job as the Commissioning Editor at Gardeners' World Magazine to be a stay-at-home dad  and to try and scratch a living as a freelance garden journalist. It's often said that a 'life change' is good, but can I cut it with the yummy mummys? Will I manage to get a single shred of work done? Will Ida (she's the gorgeous little girl who's the cause of all this) like gardening as much as me? Who knows, we're going to find out...