Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Green fingers (Part 1)

When we began looking for somewhere to rent, my boyfriend and I had the grand house vs flat debate.
People fell on both sides and the main argument that people cited in favour of renting a house was that there would be a garden. "You can have bbqs" people exclaimed! "You'll have somewhere to sunbathe!" shouted others. "Aah but you will have a mow the lawn" said those on the other side.

In the end we ended up getting a flat, purely because it ticked enough boxes. Yeah a garden would be nice but neither of us are mad about gardening so we weren't too disappointed.

This is a decision that we're probably going to regret when we get our long overdue summer and we have to sit inside, slowly baking.
I overestimated something though and that was my increased interest in growing things. I've never been fussed about horticulture, something I put down to the fact that I'm afflicted with hayfever every summer. The last thing you want to do when you're sneezing your head off and your eyes are so swollen they get glued together, is fiddle about with plants.

Last year though I took a fancy to growing sunflowers. I done this a few years on the trot in my childhood as part of Blue Peter's challenge to grow the tallest sunflower. I never won.

Side note: Blue Peter competitions form most of my memories from my younger years. I tried so hard to win a Blue Peter badge and never got one. I designed a green car (see how far ahead they were on environmental issues!) and a stamp (it had a Golden Eagle on it although I forget why) and....nothing. I should have at least got one for trying!



I picked up the seeds and announced I was going to grow them. "It's too late in the year, they won't grow" Mum said.

That was it. The gaunlet was thrown down. The challenge was extended. I had no choice but to accept.

For the next few months all I talked about was my sunflowers. I nearly injured myself doing a victory dance when I asw my first teeny tiny green shoots.

I also discovered that sunflowers are hardy little critters. There were times when I neglected my babies (to be fair I had just started going out with my boyfriend, my mind was on other things!). I would come back and they'd be all withered and floppy and generally sad looking. However a quick water - sunflowers drink a lot of water by the way - and half an hour later they'd be bouyant and spritely and happy as larry.

They also had to survive the vagaries of a not particularly sunny summer and the fact that they were situated in the windiest place in England - down the side of Mum's house. God knows why it happesn but that place is the ultimate wind tunnel, you practically have to tether yourself to the house before you venture down there. My sunflowers were staked to death - to the fence, to the bin, to eachother if necessary. They showed good fighting spirit though and refused to let the elements beat them.

Maybe they didn't crazily tall and become the size of a house, but some of them did reach the pretty impressive height of over 6 foot which left me very proud.

Now that it's that time of year again I'm missing having a garden - it would have been nice to have tried growing them again but I still have the memories....*sigh*
However, even though I don't have a garden, I've still been able to put my green fingers to practice...

No comments: