Green fingers and mountain goats

I’m not particularly outdoorsy. One of Marcel’s favourite stories about me was a time when we were in the Peaks with some friends, who took us off track (they’re climbers and do this regularly) and it had been raining and it was squelchy underfoot and after about an hour of pretending I was OK, I actually stamped my foot, started crying (a little) and stated ‘I AM NOT A MOUNTAIN GOAT’. We made our way back to the car fairly shortly after this and I’m pretty sure we’ve not been back since.

My non-outdoorsy-ness stretches into doing the gardening. I blame early life interactions with insects for making me a little jumpy when anything buzzes too near me or scuttles across the floor as though it’s coming straight for me. The wino loves doing the gardening, I’m quite happy sitting in the garden, with a glass of something chilled, close to a handful of citronella candles, and letting him get on with it. I do however, get regular urges to grow my own veg and have chickens and stuff so I figured it was about time to see if I’ve actually got any gardening ability at all. Watch out, I’ll be climbing Everest in the height of winter at this rate.

So this weekend, we decided to go on an impromptu road trip and found ourselves in the lovely little village (town?) of Moreton-in-Marsh, in the heart of the Cotswolds. And in Moreton-in-Marsh, we spent a lot of time antiquing and in this amazing little shop called Jon Fox Antiques, we found a beautiful old steel bath. We’ve been looking for one of these for some time – I’ve been wanting a herb garden in a bath tub for about 20 years. It wasn’t too ridiculously overpriced so we bought it.

I should probably explain at this point that we bought this house from my parents, who lived here for 13 years and have moved somewhere smaller and easier to manage. The garden was one of the big selling points – our previous flat was a one-bed on the first floor so the thought of having more space and a garden was very appealing. And we couldn’t afford to live where we wanted to live (bloody London) so we chose garden/space over location. Whether that was the right idea is another blog post for another time… I mean, it is a bloody lovely space.

The garden The house from the end of the garden Some of the overgrown borders

But the garden – Mum had a gardener who came round a couple of times a month to manage the place and when they were here, it was lovely if a little old person-y (wavy floral beds, rose bushes, clematis, you know the drill). And a gigantic lawn. Marcel wanted to garden, so we cancelled the gardener, and then with life being a little insane, it all got a bit overgrown very quickly. And then it becomes a huge chore. And no one wants to undertake huge chores. So all in all, it’s been a bit of a nightmare.

On Monday, we (and half of the rest of the UK) popped to B&Q bright and early and bought compost, herb seedlings and a few other gardening bits. I left Marcel to tackle the ankle height lawn (we haven’t mowed since probably last September, we are very lazy) and to weed the beds (because that’s where bugs lie) and I set about creating a herb and vegetable pot garden on the hugely ugly crazy paving patio.

IMAG1776 IMAG1773 All potted up

So, anyway, the purpose of this post is that I’ve decided to man the fuck up and tackle the garden (with Marcel obvs, I’m highly unlikely to venture into creating compost like my darling husband). It’s likely to be a slow process – to be honest, I almost quit on Monday, about 25 minutes in to trimming the clematis, when I saw a type of spider I’ve never seen before and it scared the bejesus out of me so this may not be a long-term manning the fuck up. But right now, we’ve tidied up a small bit of the border, we’ve got beetroot, rocket, kale and a lot of herbs growing and you never know, if it all works, this may be a new thing for me. I have basically retired.

Knowing me, I’ll get overexcited and post photos of sprouting seeds on Instagram, so if you really care, feel free to pop over there and check it out! Otherwise, watch out, I may become a gardening bore (provided the insects don’t prove too much).

Any gardening tips for insectphobic novices? Would love advice!


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