The gift that made my eyes water

lady garden

My husband gave me a lovely pink surprise behind the shed this week. I’d been dropping hints about wanting one for months and it exceeded all my expectations as he revealed it as my early birthday present.

It was larger than I thought it would be and I couldn’t work out how he had kept it hidden from view. The moment I saw it, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the sturdy thing.

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He had to be helped by a delivery man to get it in position in my lady garden and I never even saw it coming.

I squealed with delight when I saw the new capacious wheelbarrow.

My old one was rather battered. After a few Aspall ciders and a couple of vodka chasers I found it very wobbly on the way to the allotment and the wheel would be veering all over the place, sending me arse over tit into the bramble hedge on more than one occasion.

But the new one has two wheels and higher handles so I don’t have to bend so low. It is a sort of garden Zimmer frame which helps to keep me on the right path.

pink wheelbarrowWheelie good: cushions, Pimms, Prosecco – and you may need a leek

If you are new to gardening, you may be wondering why one needs a wheelbarrow. It is simply easier when it comes to lugging bags of compost and heavy pots to the end of the garden, especially if you have a very long one.

In my case, the allotment where my sister and I grow our veg and flowers, is a few hundred yards along the lane. How tired we would be if we had to carry the cushions for our fold-up chairs and all our bottles of essential Prosecco.

My new pink Barbie barrow has plenty of room to put all our tools, bottles of beer and sandwiches. And there’s still space for a few packets of crisps and a couple of boxes of Thorntons.

Tips

Anyway, two quick tips while I remember:

Firstly, don’t forget to get your brassicas out soon and mulch your azaleas, and keep an eye on any fungus that may have taken a grip on your privets.

Secondly, do remember to shred that EU propaganda leaflet that came this week and chuck it on the compost. The hot air will help decompose your Lidl veg peelings.

It is very gratifying to receive all your responses to my column. It’s surprising how ordinary garden writers fail to address basic problems. For instance, they will tell you to put bits of broken clay flower pot in the bottom of a clay flower pot to stop plant roots sitting in a little wet patch.

But what if you don’t have a broken pot? They don’t tell you!

But I will! You simply smash a pot on the patio and put those bits in another flower pot and then break another one on and on until you have all your little gaps filled.

At this point, in the interests of open journalism, I should perhaps declare that I own shares in a flower-pot making company, which is operated by a bank in Panama.

broken-flower-potGone to pot: breaking up is not hard to do

People often ask me if I talk to my plants, a procedure made famous by Prince Charles when he was a young gardener. The answer is: “Yes, I do.”

My neighbours often hear me shouting: “Die you sodding thistle!,” or “Grow, you little fecker!”

In fact, I talk to my plants more than I do to my husband.

And now for the answers to your problems.

* Mr MF from Woolpit: Yes, you should be worried. It should be much bigger than you describe. I would recommend tipping a bag of Growmore over it.

* Amy from Ipswich: A nice little courgette would probably fill that gap. They thrive in fertile, moisture-retentive conditions.

* Ian S from Lavenham: You could give your boyfriend a gift voucher, available from all good garden centres. Or he might appreciate it if you gave him a good hand fork.

Have a good week, and I’ll be back with my tips next week

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