Thursday, 17 April 2014

I Wish I Could Be Like Monty Don


As sure as night follows day, the asparagus knife will go missing just as those succulent shoots are ready for harvesting. It spends much of its life lurking in the shed, making all who enter feel miserable about its lack of use and the associated lack of asparagus, then as soon as the cropping season is upon us, the knife goes AWOL. At this point, I ought to insert a photo of asparagus peeping enticingly through the soil, but having harvested it with a kitchen knife (again) and devoured it with the Easter egg hunt (again), you will have to make do with a quince. 

The Orchard at Le Grys Farm
I have a similar problem with seeds which should be sown in April (no, I don't eat them too). I spend the entire month of March looking at them and virtuously resisting the urge to sow them, then as soon as we hit April, all the packets of seeds go on a merry jaunt with the asparagus knife. This year, after two weeks of hide and seek, I have finally conceded defeat and am off to purchase new seeds today (along with another Easter egg hunt), after which the old seeds will leap out from behind a cushion or some other seed-concealing home furnishing, giggling wildly at my hapless attempts at finding them and squealing, “we were here all the time!”

'Stella' Cherry Blossom 
I know everything has its place, but herding it into its home can be a monumental effort involving massive quantities of self-restraint (a quality I appear to have mislaid along with the asparagus knife). I have seed containers arranged by the month à la Sarah Raven, but brand new shiny seed packets need to be read, admired, shuffled and chewed over, not filed away sensibly where I can actually find them. 

All March and no April
I wish I could be like Monty Don with his perfectly arranged shed filled with sharp secateurs and tidy trowels arranged in height order. Instead I have a pigsty (literally as well as figuratively) where the only things I can find with any regularity are roller blades and bicycles (neither of which appear to be of any use when cultivating a garden - although you may disagree).

Fritillaria meleagris in the orchard
So I have decided to give myself a Christmas present of an organised potting shed. No I haven’t won the lottery; the shed is an existing piggery and I shall attach hooks and well-positioned nails to create a home for all those myriad lost items. Then all I have to do is find the missing garden tools, hang them on their appointed brackets and use the reclaimed hide-and-seek-in-a-fluster time for actual gardening. 

Apple blossom
A few nails in a wall isn’t a major DIY project and once I start moving things into their new homes, old friends such as the long-lost loppers will hopefully come out from their hibernation behind the stack of tangled spring rakes. So why isn't this an Easter present? The truth is that I have more pressing business to attend to this weekend. There are seeds to sow; plants to plant; and a whole lot of chocolate to find.


Wishing you a very happy Easter. 


P.S. My humblest apologies if you are happily sowing your beans this weekend and humming a certain Jam song with David Watts replaced by Monty Don. It's small consolation I know, but the song is reeling round my head as I type. 

38 comments:

  1. We often have the same problem. Just those one or two packs of seeds that run away and leave hone for some reason just when you are ready to sow them.

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    1. Why do they do that? And why do I never have any trouble finding the out-of-date packet of sprout seeds I forgot to sow in 2002?

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  2. Erm did you mean Easter present rather than Christmas present lol.
    I know exactly how you feel, I watch Monty Don as he diddles away in his perfectly manicured gardens and sheds and oh those cold frames are to die for! I watch his perfectly tidy potting shed and can't bear the thought of my own mess of shed outside but then I also remember that he has an entourage of people doing all that back breaking work for him. If I had an extra 2 sets of hands and a TV budget to help me my own garden would look just as perfect as his :)
    Think I prefer my own private, family friendly, often messy little garden where I can watch every little change without worrying about film work though. :)

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    1. The way things are going this year, it may very well be Easter 2015 before I get those hooks hammered in! Your own garden should always be your favourite (says the gardener staring at a pile of topsoil outside the window). Perhaps in my case, a few extra pairs of hands and a TV budget wouldn't go amiss!

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  3. Ah but Monty Don may have someone helping him behind the scenes (for a fee) ;) Tools and seeds have a habit of going 'walkies' just when you need them...

    Good luck with the well organised, it sounds fab already!

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    1. Thank you! I agree about garden tools. My garden eats them.

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  4. Lovely post, gave me a smile :) I have just tidied my shed so I feel a little superior :) I actually have a tidy bench.....seeds ready....etc etc.

    Hope all goes well with your new potting shed........such fun to have somewhere to hide away with packets of seeds.

    Enjoy your Easter and hope the sun shines.......

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    1. Thank you, Cheryl. Your shed sounds blissful. You have inspired me to get my shed in order!

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  5. I smiled through your post, I know the feeling, I used to have ample space and could never find anything. 12 years ago I moved to my current tiny house and tiny garden and I have no greenhouse, no shed and nowhere to put either. Although my house is a Victorian two-up-two-down, It is like living in a studio flat both indoors and outside – everything is on display, there is hardly any cupboard space and I just have to be tidy and organised. And now I find my things, they are where I left them. But I have to say, one things is different; there are no longer 4 kids and a husband around. The husband left and the children are grown up and got their own homes. That has helped in finding things!

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    1. Isn't it strange how we can be tidy when we have to? I wish I could blame the kids for my lost seeds and tools, but the sad fact is, they will have been nowhere near them. It's a pity that the same cannot be said for the iPad recharger!

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  6. Lovely post and thank you for sharing

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  7. Hi Sarah -
    In my experience, those seeds will do just as well if planted next year -
    so plenty of time to get your Monty Don style seed filing system set up!
    Enjoy -
    Emma :-)

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    1. Hi Emma - thank you. I shall look on it as an investment... seeds may very well have gone up in price by next spring and provided I can find my seeds I will be quids in!

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  8. Why does nothing ever stay where you leave it? I spend more time looking for my trowel than I do gardening. At least I don't have any asparagus to worry about cutting.

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    1. The trouble is, even if we had some kind of gardening tool belt from which to hang trowels and the like, we would still leave the trowel in the soil where it would be enveloped by a wayward bean plant in a matter of seconds.

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  9. I think my sunflower seeds have eloped with your seed Sarah! I remember seeing them recently but can't for the life of me remember where. I do feel bad though as I had told my niece we would be sowing them during the holidays. I may have to cheat and tell her I done them and buy some plants instead.
    Happy Easter and good luck with your shed reorganise!

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    1. Thank you, Angie. I hope you found the seeds, or failing that, some excellent plants. Just think of the financial implications for the seed and nursery industry if we were to fail to mislay seed packets for one season!

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  10. This was good for a giggle, especially as most of us can identify. Better to laugh than to lash out at one's partner, who is surely the culprit in mysterious disappearances.

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    1. Always better to laugh and grab the gardening shopping opportunity irrespective of the cause (or culprit).

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  11. I love this post! I know what you mean about tools hiding themselves from me. Then they reappear, and all is well in the land. With a limited plot of land, I plant as many flowers as I possible can; many are from seeds. I see you are a kindred spirit for getting your hands in Mother Earth soil. Enjoy!

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    1. Thank you! It is great when we find a long lost trowel in the border. Enjoy your beautiful flowers!

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  12. I quite agree that seed packets need to be admired and looked at, thought about and mine end up mixed in with magazines, so of course cannot be found until I revisit them. I share my tool shed with a lot of spiders....which I'm not too comfortable with, but they seem to keep an eye on things and the only thing I regularly misplace is twine....maybe the spiders are making super webs from it :) Happy Easter

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    1. Imagine what they would catch in those webs! Your comment about magazines has reminded me that somewhere, between the brochures in my Chelsea Flower Show bag are some packets of seeds I couldn't resist. Time to hunt down the Chelsea bag. Why do we spend so much time searching for things?

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  13. Your asparagus knife and seed packets are currently jaunting with all my right handed gardening gloves. For some reason, all the left handed gloves refuse to leave the drawer and sulk there together. I have tried wearing two left handed gloves to outwit them, but it is too restricting and cuts off the blood supply to my thumb...

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    1. Hilarious! And so very, very true.

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  14. Oh thank goodness, I am not alone! In theory I like tidy. I certainly like being able to find things. In practice I have a bad habit of never cquite getting around to the putting things away bit. Which saves time at the time, and wastes triple that later. Not to mention the need to purchase new seed to replace that which went AWOL. Wish I had asparagus to lose the knife for though...

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    1. You will have to join me on a mission to be organised. By Christmas we shall not lose a single gardening item (although we may wear them for gardening, odd socks are not classed as a gardening item, so please feel free to have a drawer full of socks without matching friends).

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  15. You're not alone, any time I spend in the garden can be divided as follows: 50% doing actual useful work, such as weeding, planting, cutting the grass etc. The other 50% is spent muttering angrily to oneself while wondering where on earth that border fork, or spade, or pot I was planting went?

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    1. Exactly! Perhaps we need a host of gardening forks. Perhaps that's why Monty Don has so many of the same kind of tools hanging in his shed. We may be more like Monty Don than we think.

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  16. I try to stay organized, but very often time has a way of getting in the way. I tend to just pile all the tools on one shelf so I find them.

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    1. I agree with you, a shortage of time is probably the main culprit, which is ironic since I waste so much time looking for the very things I didn't have the time to put away properly in the first place!

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  17. I have no idea who Monty Don is but I bet he has a behind-the-scenes crew who keeps his stuff organized. He's probably a slob with a high strung, uptight assistant who runs around like mad looking for all his stuff. I'd rather eat chocolate.

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    1. Eating chocolate is always the preferred option. Even gardening, which we love, would never be the same without a bar of chocolate to fuel our efforts.

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  18. I'm just the same when I buy new seeds, they never get put away straight away and then I wonder where I've put them. Your Stella cherry looks to be blossoming well, mine hasn't got much blossom at all this year so I'm not holding out much hope of a good harvest.

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    1. Oh I hope your cherry tree has fruited. If not, I hope that the early bumper harvest the commercial producers are enjoying this year means lower prices of cherries in the shops.

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  19. Ah! it's nice to know that I am not alone. I always give myself bad names thinking these are my bad habits/qualities of losing everything. So, now I know that we all gardeners are same ;-). What a fab post :-). Now I am smiling from ear to ear.

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