Sunday, 21 July 2013

Daffodils (21 JUL 2013)

I never thought that I would use the words “lovely” and “daffodils” in the same sentence …

This spring I discovered white, double-headed daffodils.

I didn’t intend to plant them in the sunshine as I’d bought the bulbs in the November sale planning to brighten up a dark corner in my brother’s garden. A few were left over so I planted them in an empty patch in my own.
When I planted them in bleak mid-winter, I didn’t even imagine how heavenly they would look when the sun shone through them. 
And that dark corner ? Can you see them ? You have to walk round the path to the shed in my brother’s garden, then look across past the bush with yellow flowers and under the frame of our childhood swing.

And here they were growing amongst the weeds.
It seemed weedy then, but a few months later brambles, buttercups and other unidentifiables had taken over. In the foreground are two roses and some smothered strawberries which still endure since I planted them decades ago, when my Mum gave me a small patch hidden from view to experiment with.


In the background is the area which she had intended to be a vegetable patch. I planted the daffodils there in rememberance, to get myself started on what seemed like an impossible task (though I know that tackling a patch like this would be a piece of cake to many of the garden bloggers out there …)

When the daffodils flowered, they encouraged me to take the trouble to tidy up the plot so that they would be in a nice setting. When the plot was neater, it was more pleasant to spend time in there. The more time I spent at the bottom of the garden, (instead of sitting on the doorstep daydreaming about flowers that look like angels), the less daunting it seemed to dig out the first forkful of weeds. Then once I started, I couldn’t stop …  all thanks to a packet of daffodil bulbs.
I wasn’t sure what vegetables I was going to plant to make my Mum’s vision a reality – I suspected it was rather late to be planting seeds, but I tried not to think about this too much as that’s where I’ve failed before, stopped in my tracks by analysis paralysis.

At the same time, I realised that I needed to fill the plot pretty quickly or the weeds would take over again. Then miraculously it all started coming together almost by itself …  I found strawberry plants being sold off at a fraction of the price so I bought 18 plants for £1.50 and a bag of straw.

The only fly in the ointment is that after planting the strawberries, I noticed the small print “Elsanta”. This infamous strawberry is always mentioned whenever people talk about the tasteless strawberries which are available in the shops. I’m hoping that growing them on soil which has only serviced weeds for decades might give them a bit of extra flavour.
During the weeding process, I dug out most of the brambles, but left one monster plant which we used to pick blackberries from for apple pies. It had never occurred to me before to train it up and over the swing frame, even though it was growing right next to it.
On the other hand, I also discovered a mini blueberry bush which I had counted as lost years ago. It doesn’t appear to have grown much since I last saw it, but at least it’s alive and in this new aura of hope and conquering all obstacles who knows what might happen.

Then to round it all off, the raspberries started fruiting. It brought back memories of my Mum calling from the garden to fetch a bowl. However, we hardly ever ate fresh raspberries. We used to collect them in the freezer till we had enough to make a dessert. When my mother died, one of the difficult jobs I had to do was clear out the freezer because it contained left-overs carefully stashed away that no-one else could eat except my Mum. In the bottom drawer, I found several packets of raspberries that I had picked once. As I reluctantly threw them away, I vowed that I would never freeze a home-grown berry again.

And so it came to be, not exactly the vegetable patch that my Mum had wished for but a Berry Garden for picking & eating and enjoying life now.
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Amazing wonders in my life said...

never seen strawberries and rasberries growing... you are really lucky to have them in your garden.

HolleyGarden said...

That last sentence is such a beautiful sentiment. I know your mother is smiling right now. You have really worked hard, and I'm glad that you're going to have so many berries and fun things to check on, pick, eat, and take delight in. I love the white daffodils. Like you, I don't really care for the yellow ones, but the white ones, to me, are beautiful.

Janet/Plantaliscious said...

Amazing how the tug on the attention of one, admittedly beautiful, flower can lead to so much. Love your berry patch, very practical use of the space, and I agree, berries, like peas, are meant to be picked and eaten, probably almost immediately, possibly later that day in a pie, but definitely immediately experienced. We ate a handful of blackcurrants each last night, explosions of summer in the mouth.

And the best thing about your swing corner, it will look and taste better each passing year!

Patty said...

Sounds like a very positive domino effect. It looks like you accomplished quite a lot thanks to those daffodils.

linniew said...

Those daffodils are gorgeous--not surprising they are also powerful. But oh this growing-things habit--one just leads to another, and then you have a garden. In the earliest pictures I thought, "I wish I could help!" but then you did so well. I loved the idea of using the swing frame for a trellis, it reminds me of something I would do. Enjoy those berries.

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

B-A-G it sounds like heaven and a dream come mom grew a strawberry patch we loved when we were growing up. It is one of the things that has moved me to turn over one of the veg beds to a berry patch this fall. Eat those berries now as they are bliss when taken in hand under the warm sun.

debsgarden said...

How often one thing leads to another! Your angelic flowers initiated quite a transformation. I know your mum would be pleased. Enjoy the berries!

Anonymous said...

This is such a nice tribute, even if not the veggie patch she may have envisioned. To think it started with the Daffodils, they are one of my favorite flowers.

Caro said...

Lovely post! I saw white daffodils at Chelsea Flower show this year and thought how beautiful they are - you've reminded me that I need to buy some to plant in the autumn. I love that they've inspired the transformation of your childhood garden. You've made a lovely space which will only get better with time as you think about what else you might like to grow there. Weed suppressing fabric will keep any weeds in check while you decide - It's been a good year for weeds with all this rain and sunshine, hasn't it? I seem to spend most of my time getting rid of them!!

Diana Studer said...

We are still at the clearing the freezer stage.
Closing with the promise of fresh picked berries is delicious.

b-a-g said...

Thanks all for your comments.

Caro - Yes it has been a terrible year for weeds (but I think I say that every year ...). As I just commented on Holley's blog, I zone in on one kind weed then pull it out rhythmically in auto-pilot mode. Admittedly, keeping the rhythm is a bit more difficult with brambles and ivy.

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