Wells Voice Article November 2020

The man who could make two blades of grass where one grew before Is more use than the whole race of politicians put together.   Jonathan Swift (1667 – 1745)

As bleak autumn turns into bleak winter it is easy to become pessimistic about the outlook ahead. So in a spirit of optimism it is time to take one or two positive steps to give us cheer. However small our garden plots or even pots we can usually make a couple of blades of grass grow. Basically it just amounts to putting the thing into the soil and letting Nature take its course. We can forget about the politicians for the moment and though Dean Swift had farmers in mind, they are gardeners on a grander and more commercial scale. We horticultural potterers are not competing with agriculture. So here are a few suggestions for consideration, suggestions which are not necessarily flippant.

First, there is always a favourite geranium hanging about in a neglected corner still remarkable resilient in the teeth of the weather. It is crying out for attention. So, dig it up, repot into a smaller vessel and, with a bit of tidy pruning, it can take its place on a windowsill where it will reward you continuously until late spring.

Secondly, buy a bulb or two. Simply plant in compost in a pot, place on doorstep and let things happen. Hyacinths are wonderful, narcissi never fail to lift the spirits and tulips can be planted up to Christmas and even after.

Thirdly, buy a cactus. This is a fun thing to do and not always the preserve of the children. Cacti are Nature’s joke plants, they always make you smile or wince if you get too close. But they need little fuss to keep them going.

Lastly, what about a garden gnome? There is nothing wrong with a garden gnome; better than a flimsily clad concrete Roman goddess trying to look coy in an unbecoming posture in a freezing wind and covered in lichen.

It has never been more important to have something to smile about. Since normal service will not be resumed for a long time yet, we need to do different things to cheer ourselves up. So, have fun in the garden and enjoy all aspects of it. When the clouds finally part, the sun will come out.  Pip