Focus Corner

Don’t Forget the Flowers

April 13th, 2011 by   (View Author Profile)

“But not everyone’s interested in growing vegetables.”  I’m having a bit of a heated debate with Mary, an avid flower grower in the town.
“It’s all you hear at the moment, grow this, eco that, crisis this and crisis that.  All I want to do in the garden is grow a few colourful flowers and relax and forget about all of the troubles in the world. “The colour has risen to Mary’s face like a Moville sunrise as she continues to protest about the growing movement of edible horticulture “At one time we had a balance of gardening. David Hamilton would be in the flower garden on Gardeners’ World and there would be a bit at the end of the programme about growing the vegetables and tell you how to spray on the chemicals, now it’s the other way around. Flowers have become sidelined.” She states animatedly throwing her hands about in the air to mimic airborne gardening, if there is such a thing.
Mary continues without drawing breath. “Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of saving the planet, but why does it have to be me? All I want to do is grow a few petunias.”
“There needs to be a balance”, I say wisely, picking a bit of dormant information from my brain. “Like in garden design, there needs to be a bit of style, flow, scale and symmetry, texture, colour and above all balance when it comes to gardening.”  I’m not making much sense but continue. “Gardening will find its balance soon, inter-planting the veggie bed with flowers might be a start.” I’ve mentioned vegetables again.
“There you go again” Mary interjects.”You haven’t got past the first sentence and you’re talking about bloody vegetables again!”   I try to lower her blood pressure level and try and dig my way out of the hole I just dug, “I see the whole issue of gardening as one entity.  Flowers, vegetables, shrubs trees, they are all the same.”  It didn’t work.
“Not they are not!”, Mary argues and continues gasping, “and I won’t be made to feel guilty about not saving the planet or eating home grown carrots when I’m deadheading the roses. I don’t want to grow vegetables, or get a raised bed for that matter, what’s wrong with growing things in the ground. Why does everything need to be put in beds?”  Mary’s arms are now flailing like wind turbines. I’d better not start that topic of conversation.
I look at my watch and give the impression that I have to get over to the other side of the road for something extremely important. “It’s been good talking to you.” I say politely shuffling my feet to the pavement edge. “Got to go”
“And another thing,” Mary has taken to shouting to me from across the High Street, “I’m fed up of being told that I have ‘Cash in my Attic’. Just because there’s a recession on doesn’t mean that I want to go around selling everything to raise a bit of cash. The same goes for saving money on food.”  I’m nearly out of ear shot now and slip down a side road out of view. I keep my dignity and refrain from running.
When I bumped into Mary on the street, I was going to mention that there was a talk on in Carndonagh about the food crisis by someone from Equador as part of the Latin American Week.  It’s probably a good idea that I didn’t.
Beauty is all around
Mary has had a bit of an effect on me though as I walk back home through the town along the shorefront, I’m concentrating on the freshness of spring flowers. This is a beautiful time of year, with new growth emanating from the ground and promises of things to come. It’s a great time of year to lift and divide any of your favourite perennial plants now.
The bright yellow glow of daffodils from the containers George has planted in the town look lovely in the fresh spring sunshine.  We have a vase of beautiful double trumpet daffodils from our own garden on the kitchen table which light up the whole room.  New growth is everywhere and the sunshine is reflecting off of the delicate leaves of crocus’s, primroses, violets and aconites that are growing all over Inishowen.  Walking through Swan Park, the familiar smell of wild garlic wafts into the air, it’s like seeing an old friend.  There’s beauty all around and just for Mary, I have managed to write one whole sentence without mentioning the vegetable garden. That is of course apart from the wild garlic; you can pick the young leaves and add them to your spring salad. Sorry Mary, I tried.
I’ll have to have a look in our attic when I get home.

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