Kevin Smith's Blog

Day 999 - cold (again)

Thursday, 23 May 2013

I tried to think of a better title for this post (after all, I also called a blog 'cold' on 2 April) but nothing sprung to mind. It is cold. I'm fed up of the cold. The garden doesn't like the cold. I wish the cold would go away.

It's a shame because now's the time when things really should be kicking off in the garden. I was at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show on Monday (in the cold), an event that always fills me with inspiration to get out in my own garden and really put in some effort. Amazingly, the exhibitors all managed to beat the chilly conditions, pulling out wonderful top-quality displays as usual. Unfortunately the reality in my own garden is somewhat different. I just don't  fancy venturing outside. I've got all of this afternoon set aside to dedicate to gardening, but the thought of it's a bit unpleasant. The gigantic hail stones that are still littering the ground after a downpour this morning aren't helping. It's a very worrying situation.

Of course the greenhouse is warm, so perhaps I'll hunker down in there for a bit. The only trouble is, there's not much room as all my seedlings, dahlias and other plants are growing so rapidly. They're really ready to go outside, but I just can't bring myself to put them out in the cold.  Although they can't stay where they are otherwise the greenhouse will be full to the roof and there'll be no colour anywhere to be seen in my broders. Oh what to do.

Although thank goodness for the greenhouse. It's the one place where things are actually growing and it's been incredibly useful for bringing things on for photoshoots – a great deal of content for the many magazines I grow for would have failed had it not been for the shelter of the place. Here's a hanging basket that I think will stay safely under glass all summer (unless the weather improves dramatically) if we've any chance of getting some beautiful images of it once it's grown.

So, I'm now thinking is there any point gardening outside at all this year? I know it seems a bit dramatic, but will the plants really catch up in time to put on a display before autumn arrives? I hate to think such things, but I can't be alone. Perhaps I'd just be better of focusing my efforts on the greenhouse and making a little haven in there.

Until next time...

P.s. Something a little worrying has actually happened in the greenhouse. Remember the pumpkin seeds Ida sowed (scroll down)? None of them have germinated! I daren't shatter her dreams after her first gardening encounter. Any suggestions welcome? Perhaps I should cheat any buy some plants from the nursery? Surely she'd never know!

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Day 978 - pumpkins

Thursday, 02 May 2013

Gemma and I have been happily married for very many years. We get on famously and have many of the same interests and hobbies - that is apart from gardening. Gemma will avoid venturing outside at all costs, has absolutely no interest in what I do with the garden and, if the truth be known, would much rather curl up on the sofa with a book and ignore everything that's happening outside. I thought my new greenhouse might ignite a bit of excitment within her, but even that got just a cursory glance - at the end of the day, Gemma's just an 'indoor' girl.

Ida, our lovely little daughter, is the spitting image of Gemma so I thought she might have a similar reaction to outdoor activity as her mother. How wrong could I have been – Ida, just like her father, seems to adore being outside. There's nothing she enjoys more than running about the lawn and poking around to find creepy crawlies – it's come as a wonderful surprise to me.

You can imagine my excitement when Ida told me she'd like to grow a pumpkin. Okay, she'd seen Daddy Pig grow one on Peppa Pig, but she asked, totally unprompted, to do some gardening. Hurrah! Before she could change her mind we nipped down to the garden centre to buy some seed. We then came home and dashed down to the greenhouse to start sowing. Here she is proudly showing you what's she's going to grow:

What happened next totally amazed me. I expected to have to really guide Ida through the sowing process, and I thought it was highly likely that she'd moan about getting her hands dirty. I completely underestimated her. Filling pots, sowing seed and watering was all totally instinctive to her - it was just like she'd been doing it for years. And she didn't care a jot about getting dirty - in fact, she seemed to thoroughly love it. Here she is in action to prove I'm not fibbing:

So, Ida's gardening future looks promising. She's keenly watching her pots to see if the pumpkins have germinated and she's showing an interest in everything I do outside. She's really helpful with watering, completely understanding about watering the soil, not the leaves, and shows every sign of following in my footsteps. I'm seeing it as a bit of a triumph.

Until next time...

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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...