Although I’m not very good at it, I enjoy gardening. A proper gardener knows more in their little finger than I have in my entire horticultural repertoire.

Plants just seem to die within a few days of me showing them any green-fingered devotion.

I realise that being a farmer’s wife carries a certain expectation that I would instinctively know my azaleas from my rhododendrons. However, in reality, that stereotype does not apply in my case. And I rely on Google to cure my gardening woes.

I also enjoy eating, especially really fresh food. So I do try to grow vegetables. My dismal efforts tend to run along the lines of Samuel Becketts “fail better” quote.

Firm favourite

Garden peas are a firm favourite in this house. Before lockdown had ever been conceived, I had decided to plant peas and onions (we eat a lot of onions!).

Katy was not fond of the frozen peas - they are a little lacklustre in flavour when compared to their home-grown compatriots - so I bought the pea seeds and assured her that she would love the ones from our garden.

Trying to garden with the children was somewhat stressful at the start, as our garden is partly surrounded by a retaining wall and I was in fear of my life that Katy would fall off it. So far so good though.

I thought a variety of pea I planted looked rather like parsnip leaves

Having the kids ‘helping’ does give me a handy excuse when the plants don’t appear in neat straight rows or when I really cannot remember what it is I have planted on a particular line!

For approximately three weeks, I thought a variety of pea I planted looked rather like parsnip leaves. In the end, it turned out to be white turnip. Quite tasty too!!

All advice welcomed …

By my standards, the garden was going along quite well up to the end of May. Plants were growing, both vegetables and weeds.

I was on top of the watering, twice a day with my watering cans; it took me two weeks to get rose heads for them. That can be attributed to COVID restrictions rather than my ineptitude.

Being cautious of weeding out my hard work, I adopted a wait-and-see approach. However, this left a green blanket across the garden.

Michael noticed and very kindly gave me a tip: “If you just get a hoe,” he said “and scratch out the weeds between the rows.”

He must have spotted my blank look.

“You do know what they look like?”


“Well, did you not plant the veg in straight lines?”


“They fork out at the top, like two spades”.

I gave a non-committal “Uh-huh” at this - I wasn’t sure if he meant the weeds or vegetables. Obviously, the bar isn’t set high for my gardening standards!

Know your priorities

When June arrived and Molly (my horse) became ill, the garden took a real hit. Her welfare and subsequent recuperation took precedence over my love of garden peas.

As we reach mid-July, Molly is looking much better and just about sound. There is some muscle wastage over her hindquarters and after some time off she will undergo a rehab programme to strengthen her leg and we’ll go from there.

On the plus side, everything in the garden took off, including the weeds. Luckily the rain covered my lack of watering. The peas are nice and fat and the girls cannot get enough of them.

As for whatever else is growing, I’m fairly certain I recognise the onions, but the rest - pfft! I’ll stick to my wait-and-see approach!

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