Sunday, May 15, 2005

gardening and why i do it

such long gaps on my blog and i don't know why really ... more to do with being busy and forgetting ... sure way to lose the few readers i had but the thing is i do just forget ... i usually remember when i am driving somewhere or just as i am about to fall asleep

done so much gardening in the last couple of weeks ... and let's just clear up that i am no alan titmarsh ... i rely on guess work, common sense and a few vague things recalled from years of watching my parents ... the thing is when we got this house it came with a garden

we used to live next door in the top half of the house and that had a garden half the size of this one and it was a tip ... it stayed a tip for about 8 years ... we used to go out every spring and spray weedkiller around and clear rubbish and weeds ... there was clumps of grass where there should have been a lawn ... there was no fence on one side and it happened to be where the vicars garden backed onto ours and it was just the dumping bit of their garden and it was choked with things like bindweed which used to escape into our garden

i should stop calling it a garden really it was a little scrap of land ... eventually we decided we had to do something about it and we applied our maxim for dealing with things we can't do ... throw money at the problem and the problem goes away

we hired a young guy who put up a fence ... laid a lawn and helped us choose plants and shrubs ... our one man ground force ... 7 years on it is a nice little developed garden that does all the right things at the right time

then we decided to buy the house next door and keep the flat and rent it out ... and the house came with a mature garden twice the size of ours ... it was a little overgrown and unattended but the lady who lived her had really looked after it ... and of course we also had to look after the garden next door ... we had spent so much on it we couldn't just let it go

we decided we had no choice but to look after our new garden and of course once you start you tend to plan things ... make decisions ... try stuff out

3 years on we have a little greenhouse ... a vegetable plot ... a little herb garden ... compost bins ... last summer i made a little micro irrigation system to water the greenhouse/potted stuff/ vegetable plot/herb garden because we can sometimes be away and one hot day can really harm things like bonsai trees

there are always things i feel i should do that i never get around to doing like digging compost and grit into my very stodgy london clay soil ... the lawn i inherited is bumpy and has bad patches and i want to dig it up and start again but it seems such hard work

i potter about and try to grow some food and some flowers for cutting ... so the greenhouse has some strawberry pots and tomato plants and basil ... i have sweet peas starting and lettuce and pak choi and rocket (which grows better than weeds)

the back half of the gardens is surrounded by the backs of other people's gardens and they are overgrown and constantly invade my garden and i spend more time clearing up weeds and rubbish from somewhere else than i do my own ... after three years of doing this gardening lark i think i am not one of life's natural gardeners ... i could happily live somewhere with just a little yard and some pots of herbs ... but as we have this space we really should look after it and make use of it

slight worry of the week is that holy joes is currently homeless and we have had to suspend meeting for a few weeks ... the problem is that pubs now are forced to use and hire out every inch of space and we are left trying to find someone who doesn't mind us using a room every week ... our problem is that because we book people to speak we have to know the room will be available ... and we never have any money to hire somewhere ... and we don't want to meet in a church (quite apart from the lack of beer the one thing we have is that we are 'that group that meet in a pub') ... we are currently pub crawling and trying to come up with a solution

anyway it is now 8am and it is a beautiful sunny morning here in london town and i think i will get myself a cup of freshly ground coffee and wander around my estate (gardens not volvo)

i will be back soon


Kathryn said...

Lost in admiration at the garden development, unlikely though it seems. This little bit of suburbia is so uninspiring, I can't persuade myself to do anything other than cut the grass, what with knowing we're only here for a while.
What a pain re the homelessness of holy joes: shall I try something radical like prayer?!
Take care, anyway
Hugs xx

lilly said...

hey steve! the lewin clan was out shopping the mac store...and on the way out to the car, the boys were quoting you!
we really miss you!
and your amazing garden, fresh coffee, and tunes on the ipod! not to mention your lovely bride and her wonderful culinary treats!
any hope you'll be crossing the pond this summer?
i too will pray for holy joes' new home...any hope of the arts center as a new venue?
love to you and laura! lil

steve said...


Your boys quoting me J sorry about that … hopefully they will grow out of it

We are coming to America in November but only to NY for laura to run in the marathon (and for me to shop)

We are still trying to find a new holy joes base

And as for the arts centre … well that is about first finding millions of pounds in backing … I think that is a long term job

We are both well but a little busy … we have greenbelt fast approaching and trying not to panic aboput all the things we haven’t done yet

Hope you are all healthy and happy … good to hear from you … give our love to the rest of your tribe



cutiger95 said...

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