Flowers, rain… and more rain (554 days to go)

by Max Akroyd

As previously stated, most flowers leave me a bit cold and they don’t form part of my masterplan; unless they are sweet peas, edible or a good companion (to other plants, not me).

Strange then, that I found my interest in them ignited this morning – to such an extent that I joined my wife in sifting through the flower seed packets which I’d ruthlessly discarded during my recent, great tidy up of our vegetable seeds. My motivation was simple. During the rounds of animals I had discovered that this particular Monday morning was so abysmally wet, windy and (for the first time in ages) definitely not mild, that scheduling the sowing of flowers seemed like a relatively attractive option.

Perhaps it was the occasional stifled yawn, or my dubious exclamation of “Mmm Zinnia – my favourite!” that got me ejected back into the great outdoors. Disconsolate, I headed (quickly) for the cover of the greenhouse.

Fortunately the various seedlings in there had put on enough growth since I last checked to warrant a bit of attention. I thinned out some spring onions and potted on some brassicas: Collards ‘Georgia’ and Mustard ‘Green in Snow’. I used up some old seed compost by putting it in one of a set of horrible plastic window boxes (the mini pigs eat out of the other two) and sowing some salad leaf mix therein; the contents of a seed packet that came with a gardening magazine dated 1978. Did people even eat salad in 1978?

However hard I tried, I couldn’t persuade myself that the October-sown cauliflowers were ready for the next stage yet so I had to scurry over to the polytunnel to keep myself gainfully employed, but dry. Although the polytunnel is sited in the most sheltered part of our garden it was more like working in a railway tunnel today, with the roaring wind pretending to be oncoming trains.

I continued expanding the existing beds in the polytunnel: this involves taking the former turf off to reveal the rock hard, heavily compressed soil underneath. I managed to clear about seven square meters and, in doing so, just about completed the final outline of the beds in there, save for a bit of straightening up. Bizarrely, given the present deluge, I’ll have to water the new beds profusely to have a chance of getting my fork into them.