I’m not exactly sure when gardening fell by the way side. E and I used to take quite an interest in our little garden when we lived in Oxford. OK so she was small and the novelty of watering everything that moved never waned. I took cuttings from various sources to produce new plants, most notably a small snip from something I liked the look of in the car park of a hospital in Birmingham. It travelled all the way back to Oxford in an inch of water at the bottom of a takeaway coffee cup. Hormone rooting powder is a wonderful thing. That nameless shrub was over three foot tall and round by the time we left that property. It flowered abundantly every year and required very little maintenance. Hooray for car park gardeners I say.

Attempts at proper gardening have been thin on the ground since those days. Our latest garden is perhaps the biggest but also the wildest. Grass cutting and hedge hacking as we like to call it, is all we do. Ella, however, still has green fingers but with a slightly bad habit of abandoning house plants that fail to thrive. Hence we have a casualty bay in the kitchen because I just don’t like to give up on a plant if there’s any tiny signs of life left. Currently several cacti are being nursed back to health along with this cheerful yellow bucket of dwarf sunflowers that germinated very quickly but have been doing very little else for months.

This morning I spotted the first signs of a flower head which made me ridiculously happy given the challenging week I’ve had. Among other things we’ve been without heating and hot water for several days now whilst waiting for the gas engineer. Thank goodness it’s been so mild, the only discomfort has been the chilly evenings in front of a woefully inadequate electric heater. Jake has learned that it is possible to wash his hair in the bathroom sink with hot water from a kettle and a small jug. I feel it’s a life skill he will find useful in the future.


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