Hints & Tips
Spring. Ah. I feel her verdant tendrils, vibrant colours and the warm breath of her gentle breezes approaching, thrusting themselves on my senses as relentlessly as a free- newspaper agent at a tube station.
What I really like about spring is the first spring flowers. Crocuses, purple and yellow like tiny droopy trumpets in the garden, snowdrops, there since the colder weather with pure white petals reflecting the snow they survived and daffodils, so ubiquitous you even see them livening up over crowded roundabouts in Telford and Harlow and for sale for a pound in service stations everywhere.
Plus, people are thinking about planting seeds, growing vegetables and pottering about in the greenhouse… possibly the worst description of any structure in the history of architecture…
Still. Spring is more than nigh, and the garden is beckoning to us to join the seasonal dance like an aunty at a wedding disco after one too many Baileys. It means millions of children will breathe a sigh of relief as their parents head outside to argue over the design of the rockery and they can get down to some serious uninterrupted Minecraft action. Spring brings out the joy in so many people. It makes me want to sing. But you really don’t want to hear that. No. However, it seems a good time to offer you my list of what gardening terms really mean, so you can be fully prepared for all the coming year has to offer.
1. Allotment – A kind of grubby, outdoor holiday camp for middle-aged men and women who are fed up with their families.
2. Arboretum – A large open garden with a comprehensive collection of trees and shrubs grown for science and an over-priced café in a greenhouse with fruit tea bags on string and ‘home-made’ cakes you can buy in the supermarket for half the price. (See also – Botanical Gardens, Stately Homes).
3. Bolting – You wanted broccoli, planted too late in the warm weather, now you’ve got bunches of crap flowers.
4. Botanical Name – The Latin one you can’t pronounce that adds extra money onto the price of what is basically a glorified weed in a garden centre.
5. Cuttings – Those bits of dried twig you find in your jacket pocket that you had forgotten you stole from your neighbour’s garden when you were drunk.
6. Hydroponics – What’s that funny smelling plant? Call the police.
7. Plot Cultivation – Sore back, calloused hands and a collection of bits of pottery and rusty nails your child thinks is Roman treasure but actually got dumped there by the plot holder next door when they were cultivating theirs.
8. Propagating – A clever way to wind up your partner by filling the table, desk, airing cupboard, DVD shelf, bed or any other surface with so-called ‘precious’ seedlings that are actually a menace that bring insects into the house and are just going to die when you go away for that long weekend in Norfolk.
9. Parasitic Plant – The type you should really be growing since it is doing so much better than anything else you actually planted. (See also – weed, dandelion, borage, anything that grows when you don’t want it to).
10. Sucker – The guy off e-bay that just bought your old lawnmower.
So that’s it. Fore-warned is fore-armed… and if I had four arms I could do the gardening in half the time (sorry, that was uncalled for). Anyway. Watch this space for more silliness and if you need more advice and hints and tips… for goodness’ sake read Drew and Dick, they know much more than I do. See ya. Holly.