St Valentine’s Day, sweet for some and bitter for others, was marked with horrible weather this year in most of Scotland so I decided to delay the tradition of planting seeds till Mother’s Day. I’d be planting them in Mother Earth, after all. Some flower and alium bulbs and some berry bush cuttings had already gone in and it wasn’t yet time for rhubarb (that’s April) so on Sunday 14th March 2021 I sowed beetroot seeds, mixed in with some for flowers for the bees, scattered across the newly raised bed – that already has onions – and carrot seed sprinkled over the mulchy soil in the big green box – that already has garlic. Then I upended a large plant pot, after renegotiating tenancy of various herbs (and composting a leafy green plant that I’d rescued and had grown lustrous big green leaves only for it to flower once then wither and die) and used the soil to cover up the seeds. Hopefully. I’m aware that my seed-sowing is rather Biblical. Another description is ‘haphazard’.
The strawberries, I’m happy to say, have survived the winter in their cosy cold frame and may even be persuaded, this year, to produce strawberries rather than just lots of runners.
Chives are springing up again in the centre of the first bed I raised – which did do well with cabbage and gave a steady supply of small Brussels sprouts all late autumn and winter.
Most of those tall stalks are still producing at the top but as the sprouts keep opening rather than getting any bigger it will soon be time to compost all the plants. I think I might sow lettuce there this year and cabbage and Brussels again in the new raised beds – wherever there’s a space not occupied by flowers or aliums.
I can’t yet tell if the aliums already shooting up are onion or garlic – but I covered them with jam jars anyway, to keep off the birds.
I went a bit mad and bought Blackberry, Blackcurrant, Gooseberry and Raspberry cuttings – in the hope they’d suck up some of the water that’s currently flooding the garden.
The berry cuttings aren’t doing much of anything yet, only one has buds, unlike the daffodils springing up everywhere to take over from the crocuses, and I thought the same of the hanging basket which had flowers then coriander (cilantro) last year – which I’ve resown in another bowl near the kitchen this year.
However, when I pulled out dry dead stalks and plucked out and trimmed back the grass that had somehow got up there, I discovered a base layer of happy healthy green leaves, that might be a herb or a flower that I don’t remember planting. We’ll see.
The greenhouse, a rather flimsy affair it must be said, had ponged a bit at the end of the growing season and the subsequent airing out meant that some stragglers either didn’t survive the abrupt change of temperature inside the house or became windblown and withered. The Chinese lantern was among them, however I’ve left the stalks and roots in the pot in the hope it might come back, as its flower cases are so pretty. The Sanvitalia (Creeping Zinia) which flowered and flowered and flowered last year in the greenhouse (after an unhappy period planted outside) and grew and grew and grew over winter indoors but attracted wee black flies so out it went again, where it withered away to just two small shoots, is temporarily back indoors, flyless and recovering.
Still, the smell has gone and, after a tidy up and clear out last weekend, I had the room and the patience to sow sunflowers and runner beans. The former were almost all eaten up by the greedy birds last year (only five survived out of about twenty that I successively planted) and those of the latter that survived their aerial predators did the same as the strawberries – lots of leaves and no fruit! Beans really should wait a month more but they were looking musty so in they went on top of dried grass at the opposite end of the small compartments in plastic trays that I’d bought small flowering plants in last year. Then I topped that off with mud, scraped off the stepping stones that had disappeared with the endless rain we had from early autumn on after a glorious summer.
There’s a tray of cress I sowed on St Valentines’ Day (I felt I had to do something) that’s springing up and a circle of moss that I’d used for cress last year and then, after cutting most, left the rest to seed – because I didn’t have the heart to cut them down as they were so few and so pretty. So the greenhouse once more smells of life.
After the bitter chill of fear blew round the world last year, accompanied by an endless deluge of depressing and despairing outpourings, from pharmaceutically-funded officialdom, pharmaceutically-funded medics, pharmaceutically-funded state and supposedly independent media and, last but by no means least, pharmaceutically-funded social media, many human beings, in ripe old age or even in the flower of their youth, lost their bloom and withered away. Some were brought in for intensive care, which killed them, others were isolated, which killed them, some few (perhaps many) were only found dead because of the smell. The very basic elements of our life, fresh air, sunshine, the warmth of touch and humankindness, these things were restricted by those who gave themselves the authority – under no state contract – to do so. And most of us just went along with it.
Now there is a new hope because all these pharmaceutically-funded influencers (including a great many people on social media who advertise themselves, cleverly, as people-like-us) have convinced a great many people to take a wonder-drug that is untested and so toxic in its effects that it has been banned in several countries. DDT, AZT, Thalidomide…I could name so many toxic substances marketed by the same people, with the same persuasive strategies, and the same assurance that it’s fine, it’s safe and everyone else is taking it.
For reasons that the eminently-qualified Dr Dolores Cahill outlines, this new hope is a false one. Anyone who takes an untested drug (especially the more toxic second dose of this one) and hopes for the best is like a gardener who plants tender seedlings before a frost.
Thanks to George Hodan for releasing his image Strawberry Plant into the public domain.