Sunday, 18 April 2010

The Accidental Gardener

Being a hopeless romantic I had a frivolous notion of whisking a certain gentleman off to London for a sunny stroll along the Thames yesterday.
Following a difference in opinion over the number 16 I was instead left with a less glamourous plan for the afternoon - off to the garden centre.
That said I was actually really looking forward to it as I intended to load up on herbs, salad seeds and strawberry runners. On the outside kitchen window ledge at the moment I’m growing chives and flat leaf parsley but the vision is to develop the yard at the back to a living pantry of leafy goodies.

I am extremely impatient. Going around the garden centre (with a gentle buzzing of a vodka hangover) I became a purist and refused to purchase anything but plants and compost - cutting corners, some might say a botched job and I fully accept I have a bish-bash-bosh approach to gardening. I do this in cooking occasionally too. I can happily cook all day long and not loose focus but its almost painful to have to wait for the cake to cool before I ice it, even though I am fully aware that if I don't the butter in the buttercream will melt and the whole lot will gently slide off the cake and bashfully slope onto the worksurface and then the floor.

I returned with pots of Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme, Sage and Mint to beef up the window ledge. I a
lso pushed the proverbial envelope and planted up a hanging basket with Violas, Strawberries and Peas. Under the sink I had a wicker basket which I was keeping the iron in but I have now filled it full of compost and have planted a mixture of exciting salad leaves (the iron will just have to find a new home).

Finally to add to the illusion that my bedroom
is a 1930s Parisian apartment (a
real stretch of the imagination I know) I have planted Geraniums in a snazzy window b ox. I picked up some Nasturtium seeds too but I lost my gardening nerve as the hangover really started to push to the forefront of my cranium and left planting them until this afternoon. Knowing my horticultural track record we are probably looking at a 35% plant survival rate.

If I am lucky enough to keep these plants alive and the salad seeds germinate there are going to be some very tasty adventures on the summer culinary horizon. I am a firm advocate of the rule: You should only use a garnish if you can eat it and along similar lines: - I only want to grow things you can eat. Mimi was horrified at this, likening my eating of flowers to the concept of eating ones pet. She's my best friend's little sister, a very studious med student who laughed like mad when I implored her to eat her broccoli exclaiming that if she didn't she'd be missing out on 1 whole vitamin!

I think the next few days will be critical, will the salads sprout? Will the strawberries flower? Will the pea plants take to the compost and will sunny afternoon strolls be rearranged?

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