We do a spot of gardening

21 February 2013

“Do you want to help me in the garden, Flat Kathy?” asked Reggie, as she opened the boot of her car, having just returned from a nearby plant nursery. “I’ve bought a couple of plants that I need to put into pots.”

I had been sitting on the bench next to the pool with Gilbert the Gnome, enjoying a mid-morning tea with a couple of my Lemony Biscuits (there aren’t many left of those, incidentally – I don’t rightly know how it happened, but there’s only two heart-shaped biscuits and a handful of crumbs left! We’ll have to bake some more biscuits sometime!).

We get ready to plant the dark pink Gaura into a pot
We get ready to plant the dark pink Gaura into a pot

“Certainly,” I said, eagerly. “Gilbert, will you please excuse me? I need to make myself useful.”

“Ja ja, kein problehm,” he said, in his funny, slightly awkward German accent, as he trudged off to unroll the hosepipe. “I musst go and vater ze lemon trees. Zey are zursty.”

“What did you buy?” I inquired, as Reggie wedged me and an empty cookie jar under one arm, and carried two of the plants to the front garden.

“These two are ‘Gaura belleza dark pink’,” she said, peering at the label, as she carefully put everything down just outside the front door. She trotted off again to fetch a small spade and a black bucket, filled with very dark mulch.

It needs to be watered intensively so that the soil is nicely soaked
It needs to be watered intensively so that the soil is nicely soaked

“I’ll put those two into the two small matching pots,” she explained. “This bright red geranium I’ll put in the bigger pot. It’ll look a bit silly at the moment, because the geranium is still quite small, but hopefully it’ll grow bigger, and then it should look quite nice against the white pot.”

She removed all the decorative white pebbles from the pots where they had been stored temporarily. I squealed with fright and almost toppled over, when two little geckos came scrambling out among the pebbles, scuttling past my legs in their quest for a new safe haven.

Reggie giggled. “They’re harmless, Flat Kathy; they won’t hurt you.”

“Well, it’s not your legs they were trying to run up!” I retorted.

“Oh, don’t be such a ninny,” she chided me playfully, standing me up straight again.

Then she shovelled about a third of the soil inside each of the cement pots into the bucket with mulch, mixing it all together. She removed the two gaura and the geranium from the plastic pots, placed them inside the white pots, and carefully added handfuls of the soil-and-mulch mixture all around the plant, pushing it down firmly to make sure there were no big gaps.

Another happy potplant
Another happy potplant – “Go on, grow!” I whispered to it.

“Aren’t you going to put in some of your wonderful compost?” I inquired. I’d learned all about composting during my first week here.

“Unfortunately not, Flat Kathy. I can’t get to the compost at the bottom of the bin, without emptying out a lot of the stuff that hasn’t decomposed yet… But I had put some very good compost and soil into these pots before, so we’ll just make do with what we have right now.”

Once all three plants had been potted, we filled a cheerful red watering can to the brim. We watered each of them thoroughly, waiting for the water to soak in, before adding a little bit more.

Eventually, we stood back and admired our handiwork. “There, that looks good, doesn’t it, Flat Kathy?”

“Yes,” I nodded, contented. Getting our hands and fingernails dirty by working in the ground like that, had felt good too.

And I rather liked knowing that I had helped Reggie to plant something in her garden that would stay here and continue growing, no matter where I was travelling to in the big wide world. In a very little way, it felt like I had put down some roots.

We plant the cheerful red geraniums in another pot
We plant the cheerful red geraniums in another pot – by the way, the sign above me says “Bless my garden with love and laughter”: I like that!

2 thoughts on “We do a spot of gardening

  1. Geckos in the garden ! How very sweet. You just aren’t used to such things coming from a colder climate are you F.K.. I know that you are really quite unflappable and were just startled. It’s lovely that you’re giving Reggie a hand in the garden. Don’t forget to wash your stick before you go back in the house.

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    1. No, Sybil, I hadn’t seen so many geckos before! They’re everywhere – underneath small stones in the garden, climbing up the walls inside the house, hiding behind the curtains, and – alarmingly – inside the postbox outside! Occasionally, one of them loses their grip and falls down, stunned for a moment, before scuttling off. Thank you, yes, I was merely startled for a moment. Normally, such trifles do not unsettle me.

      Oh, yes, I’d forgotten to wash my stick. Er… oops… It seems I’ve left a bit of a trail… I’ll go and clean it up right away. Thank you for the reminder!

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