Monday, August 01, 2011

learning as we grow

One of the things that I will remember about this first home that John & I have shared is our little patio. While neither of us are particularly green fingered, we both dream of one day having a home that has a garden. 

Although there is very little room for growth & life on our patio, we have tried to make the most of it by lifting up some of the flagstones & putting down a grow bed that my parents kindly gave us for Christmas. 

(Transporting the compost home from the garden shop was another story altogether. We went for a run, popped into the shop, purchased 50kg of compost, then lugged them home on our shoulders. I don't ever want to do that again. Ever.) 

So anyhow, back to our grow box. Some time in May, we planted rows of seeds with smiles on our faces, excited at the prospect of produce which would hopefully spring forth & feed us over the Summer months. 

While we know little about gardening, we do know that tomato plants like to take up a lot of room. What we should have done was plant the tomatoes in their own little space to give the rest of our seedlings a chance of survival. But we didn't. 

We have been so excited to watch our tiny garden grow, and have diligently watered it (although there have been many weeks when the rain has done the work for us) and done little else. A few weeks ago, my good friend Ros came round for coffee & cake. She looked at our tomato plants & said, 'you've done a good job at picking those out'. I had no idea what she was talking about, so she gave me a lesson in how to help tomato plants grow up tall & strong, and be more fruitful.

Due to our ignorant negligence, our tomato plants had not once been picked out, and as a result, had great strong branches growing in every direction, thus weighing down the main stem & creating a bit of a struggle for themselves. So, for the last few evenings, while watering the little garden, I have started picking out the off-shoots (is that even a term?) in the hope that they will bear greater fruit when their load has been reduced.  

Over the last year I have been given two orchids as gifts. The first one as a house warming present from the family I childmind for, and the second by John when he came back from China at Easter. When John presented me with this beautiful flowering orchid, my first thought was, 'oh no, another one for me to kill off!' I find there is something rather daunting about being entrusted with a flower as delicate as an orchid. I didn't know how to care for them, and when the flowers fell from my first orchid, I thought they may well be the last. 

Along the way, I have asked a couple of much more seasoned gardeners for advice on caring for orchids. I have learned that they love to have their leaves kept wet, and that they like to sit in water every now & then. So, for the last few months, I have diligently sprayed my flowerless orchids in the hope that they might live. To my great delight, both orchids have buds that look almost ready to burst into bloom. It's amazing what a little water and patience can do.

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