I’ve got performance anxiety. Ten years ago I put down very extensive and indeed expensive decking in my garden. I don’t like grass. Borders, gravel paths, decking – all good; grass -sneezy, weedy, needy. All the bad dwarves, in fact.
Fed-up with it now. Now, I’m all about the vegetables. I’ve ordered myself a greenhouse and I’m having two big vegetable beds built. Here’s the plan.
The greenhouse will be bursting with lusciousness - heritage tomatoes full of sweetness, purple and chocolate-brown peppers glowing in the sun, grapes hanging from the ceiling promising juicy delight. Unless, of course, I forget to water them, or they fry in the sun because I left the door shut in cracking-the-flags heat.
Same with the vegetable beds. Will they be a miracle of organic beauty? Flowers companionably planted alongside peas and rocket, strawberries bursting out of their beds? Perhaps. Or perhaps there’ll be one pea, one raspberry and a mouldy strawberry. Not even The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s going to eat that lot.
I’m worried that it’ll be the cheese plant all over again. I nearly killed it. It needed water, and feeding; regularly, not just once a month if it wilted. In a last attempt to save it, I planted it outside and ignored it. It’s 7′ tall now and glares at me like Audrey 2. That plant remembers me.
And that’s really the cause of the worry. My garden is full of perennials. Plant them close together and you never need water them. Cut them back twice a year and throw manure at them now and again – job done and the local wildlife will kiss your face off. These veg babies will require care. If I forget to feed and water them, they’ll die horribly. (You’ll be relieved to know I’ve never owned a dog)
The worst of it is, I’ll be learning to be Geoff Hamilton under the merciless stare of my family, who, like all families, will never let me hear the end of it if I fail. If there are foody successes you’ll surely be the first to know. If you see me at the Sainsbury’s produce counter though… look the other way.