Then at the weekend the snow started to melt, the sun shone and the plants miraculously perked up. It was such a surprise and I was so happy, that I forgot all my worries for a moment. I'm not sure if it was the novelty of gardening that caused this reaction or the feeling that higher forces were on my side (or rather the plants' side). I never believed in God before experimenting with plants, everything in my life could be controlled by negotiation, hard work, money or visiting the doctor. I still don't believe in God in the sense of a moral guide but I have been worshipping in the temple of Mother Nature recently (at least whispering a quiet plea every now and then).
To put a cherry on top of the icing …. I thought I'd check what happened to the snail that was living inside one of the broccoli plants. I hadn't flicked it off as I usually do with snails, don't know why, maybe because it was just a baby one. I couldn't find the snail so I looked deeper into the paling green leaves and found what looked like a tiny broccoli floret (or curd as some people call it). I didn't probe it too much because I didn't want to disturb it. Needless to say I was overjoyed.
After this minor success, I've started making plans for next winter - I'm visualising a garden full of brassicas and snow. Brassicas are iron-rich and I'm anaemic so there could be health benefits. My mother has cavalo nero (dark green Italian cabbage) growing in her garden. She started growing them to eat because they are so expensive to buy in the shops (if you can find them), they look so beautiful first emerging out of the ground horizontally then growing upwards like mini palm trees. I sowed some seeds from her plants in the autumn, but the seed tray is now covered in moss in the plastic greenhouse. My new policy in the garden is not to give up on plants so easily because there are apparently higher forces at work, so I'll leave the seed tray as it is and see what happens.