Before I started gardening, I thought I was fulfilled.
However, my Experiments with Plants directly and indirectly filled voids that I hadn't even recognised, lifting my happiness to a higher level.
This is a blog about a garden near London, England, and how it is changing my approach to life.
In the garden of my childhood, the compost pile between the
neighbours' fence and the garden shed was a definite no-go area. At the time, I
wasn’t convinced that there was goodness in the slimy, wormy mess of crushed
egg shells, spent tea leaves and rotten vegetable peelings. I can’t remember
when it stopped serving that function, maybe ten years ago. Today it’s a
wilderness growing on what I suspect is highly fertile soil, needing constant
maintenance, which is not a problem as hacking clearings through vegetation is
one of my favourite jobs.
ex-compost heap in my mother's garden
My mother didn’t show much interest in this spot as it couldn’t be seen from the windows and it’s quite shady, enclosed on three sides, under cover of the branches of the neighbouring tree – I just did as I was told.I usually cut away as much as I can, rake away as much as I can, then don’t bother to dig, because digging isn’t fun and the weeds return in a few days anyway.
A couple of weeks ago, I was raking away, thinking for the hundredth time that there must be better ways to use this piece of land, when through the prongs I saw some familiar leaves, surely it couldn’t be ….I felt like a truffle-hunter who had sniffed treasure.
They looked like peony leaves but the nearest peony was at least 3 metres away and was already quite progressed with leaves and buds.
soft balls of confection
Could it be an off-shoot from a long-distance root ? … or even more exciting - a seedling with a variation of flower from its parent ?
I dug up the plant as carefully as I could, it seemed like the root was never-ending, but I managed to extract it intact. For a second, I thought about taking it for my own garden as the two paeony shoots my mum presented me with last year died before they flowered, but it didn’t feel like the right thing to do so I planted it in an empty space in her right border.
I returned to rake over the soil that had been excavated and found a section of broken root sticking out of the soil, the length of my middle finger … could that bit be for me ?
I stored it in some moist compost (which might not have been such a good idea as since then I read that paeonies can’t stand water-logged conditions), planting it in the dry bed of my own garden a week later.
truffles can sometimes be found growing under pine trees.
I was trying to get to sleep that night, when it occurred to me that the paeony might have been better off left where it chose to make itself at home, after all my success rate at replanting paeonies is zero so far. However, paeonies need full sun for at least a few hours a day, don’t they?Then it dawned on me … I really hope my mum didn’t plant it there.