all quiet on the gardening front: time for a chat

2011-07-09 00:00

ANOTHER week gone by with cold days and warmer days and growth has slowed right down. Lawns are still not the expected June, July winter brown. While the garden is still and quiet, let’s rest it and just have a chat.

The recession is always in the news and something that has reflected this is the garden and nursery industry. Many reasons can be considered and all have merit. Over the years the social change has contributed with many young housewives and mothers following career paths. This has led to the closing down of many gardens and floral art clubs. Fortunately there are still some active that hold regular get-togethers, to these well done. Economics always comes into these discussions and as with all else, prices for everything garden related have risen all the time. Budgeting for the garden has dropped low on the average householders list. The knock from television entertainment has hit hard. This has helped push gardening out of the picture. Sport and gardening used almost to be equally divided, but now with most sports professional and more international they win this call.

Some years ago the big push towards indigenous and labour-saving gardening altered the once accepted general practice of gardening, and changed the industry noticeably. Many found it the garden answer to a prayer and were morally deeply satisfied. Others enjoyed more the colour, the variety and excitement of plantings from around the world. To each his own, but this change had an effect on the nursery industry. In the city while much that is garden related has slowed down, it is heartening that the popular spring garden show and the Open Gardens still enjoy very good support. It is interesting to note that with show and open gardens the ones that present with lots of colour, variety and olde worlde charm attract the most visitors and praise. Talking colour, a large blue bowl of healthy yellow Calendulas is giving lots of pleasure. These easy to grow annuals that flower through winter are recommended; once flowers were only yellow or orange, but now mahogany and bronze colours are enjoyed too.

A clever elderly garden friend years ago pointed out to me the importance of year dates. As the years have hurried by the truth of this has come to me often. Easier to scribble the year date than to have to scratch into the memory bank. All this particularly when looking through old photographs.

Telling a young grandson recently that my first introduction to ink was a G Nib, and ink well, now we would love to find one of each, a museum perhaps?

After high school my work was as a telegraphist at the Post Office. The usual response is the telephone exchange. No, it was the instrument room receiving and sending telegraph messages in Morse code. With the speed today of communication it’s hard to believe it was only 65 years ago. Perhaps there are still a few old telegraphists about?

A thought provoking story in The Witness recently, “Love on the compost heap”, well done Diana Pitcher. Not surprising it was an African Violet (a plant) that gave you pleasure and sanity in your hour of need.

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