Clueless with Claire

Hello, hello! Welcome to my new blogging series. No one is more surprised than me to find out that I enjoy gardening as much as I do. I love everything about it. I love being on my own with God, in the tiny, precious fraction of His creation Gary and I get to call our own. I love breathing in the cool, fresh air, I love moving my body and I love listening to the sounds of nature.

I do not like noise, but the merry chirping of the morning chorus, the pad, pad of our two kitty cats following me as I go about my morning garden chores, the rustle of the leaves over the last few windy days and the patter of the gentle rain as it falls lightly giving a new sheen to everything… these are noises I enjoy.

Sometimes I take a coffee out with me. You all know how much I love my coffee…yet often it gets left on my potting place as I become lost in the day’s gardening.

Somehow, I am able to emerge myself in this wonderful gift of gardening: whether it is planting, weeding, watering, digging, slug patrol…all of it is a gift to me. The slugs, maybe not so much. They are a gift I could do without.

I love that our menagerie of animals seem to enjoy nothing better than coming along on my gardening adventures with me. I chat to them, telling them all sorts of interesting facts about Jasmine the first and Jasmine the second, the perils of Mare’s Tail, ivy and the ever persistent slugs which I would declare war on if I thought it would do any good.

I have thought about training the cats and dog to hunt snails and slugs instead of baby squirrels and mice. I am almost certain that if the slimy creatures moved even slightly faster than they do, they might give the animals a sense of achievement on capturing them, instead of the disinterest they show when I point to the slug and order them to ‘attack!’ Usually they simply turn their nose up and wander off with a distinct lack of any of the killing instinct they seem to show towards anything small and fast.

I believe there is a city of slugs living under our house. Every time I pick one off a plant and throw them onto the embankment of the little lane that leads up to our house, three more seem to come out in protest. I don’t want to kill them exactly, I just want them to pack up their shells and move on to pastures new, such as the embankment of the little Lane that leads up to our house.

Gary and I went to the tip last week and picked up some plant pots that people were throwing out. One such pot was the multi plant pot below. I love that it is old, decrepit and has chunks broken off it. Caspian, our cat with the white nose agrees and came to help me plant it up with the three different thymes I bought and a dill.

I’m not sure how well they will do hanging out of the pot like that, but I have decided to be fearless in the garden. To this end, I am just going to try stuff and if it doesn’t work then I will never do it again and I will have learnt something.

Take tying up our rambling rose. I really do not know what I am doing. I’m not even sure what the general goal of tying a plant is. I am learning that the more you prune, the bushier the plant becomes. But do I want bush roses or rambling roses, or indeed can I have both? I decided pruning might be a little advanced for me. Instead I tied it in all sorts of directions and contortions. Sometimes it worked well, other times we had a few mishaps. But they were happy mishaps, as I shall now explain…

Whilst on Facebook the other day (stay with me) I watched a video on rooting roses. Now, I’m not entirely convinced that gardening with Facebook is a thing, or that these videos are not some cruel joke to be played on unsuspecting novice gardeners such as myself. I imagine a hidden video camera as I try to replicate the ludicrous ideas from the video. Y’know, the video camera that a tv station has planted somewhere secret, to try to capture the same unsuspecting gardener actually attempting the methods the video purports works.

But I am brave and decided sticking branches of the rambling rose (which broke off by mistake when I was trying to tie it to grow in the direction in complete opposition with how nature had created it to grow) in a banana, yes a banana, in order to grow roots, was worth a try. I mean, I had nothing to lose, right? Except perhaps my dignity. I have teenagers, so any dignity had upped and left years ago…so no, nothing to lose. I did, however, furtively glance around my potting shed (which is actually a potting cupboard, and has no shed) for any secret cameras. Confident there were none, I quickly stuck the two branches into a banana, hoping to goodness that no one would actually come out and ask me what I was doing. I messily and speedily chucked the rest of my compost into the pot and voila! They looked good. Professional even. I have fairly low standards, but I can tell you I was impressed with myself and metaphorically gave myself a very self-satisfied pat on the back.

My last job was to plant out the Lavender, in my quest to annoy the slugs by planting plants they don’t like to eat. I am living under the probable misapprehension that if I starve the slugs of tasty food they may decide to desert the commune beneath our house and begin one elsewhere.

And I watered. I am not entirely sure I needed to water given I live in a country where it seems to rain more days a year than there are days in a year. But the gardening programs always mention the importance of watering in the plants. Unfortunately they don’t give any information about which plants I should water so I water them all to cover all basis. Oh, and the dog. Harvey is Lab and we all know Labs like two things in life: food and anything remotely wet. So I water Harv as well. Sure to be sure (as they say in Northern Ireland).

Join me next week as I answer questions of whether to banana or not? And should one prune then tie in or tie in and then prune? And most importantly of all, have the slugs packed up their shells and moved on?

You don’t want to miss it. Honestly. ❤️

1 comment

  1. This sums up how I feel when I garden! I have a hydrangea that I was ready to get rid of since it hadn’t flowered once in all the years we lived here. I completely ignored the thing all last fall when I would typically cut it back and it flowered this summer! Turns out there are some types of bushes/ plants that don’t like to be pruned… who knew?!

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