Since I moved out of my parents house I only lived in appartements which had a balcony or access to a garden. But I never was in charge of gardening. A few plants on my balcony were common but I didn’t see a challenge in it. I always thought it must be fun to have a garden of my own to take care of and give a nice impression, although I never took part on caring the garden at my parents house, which is actually very big, so it wasn’t more than wishful thinking garnished with romantic associations. Like in those documentaries about english landlady’s sipping their tea, sitting on tiny cast-iron garden furniture inside an opulent flowerage, lined by well-cut conifers and english lawn, talking into a camera about how they designed the whole enclosure and they decided to go for shrubs in the rose and blue colour palette. Or the ones about garden owners in the south of France. Same scenery but a little more casual looking arrangement with lots of herbs and eatable plants. In both cases with a nice stone cottage (old, but totally re-done by owner) in the background.
Now, that I finally live in a – rented – row house build in the late 90′s in the alps (closest I could get to the conceptions above) it didn’t get long to occurs to me that it is a lot of work in the first place and so I am very pleased that the garden I am in charge of has only the size of car port. But I didn’t start this post to whine and complain, although I could. But no. Well, maybe a little bit.
I’m not much of a gardener.
At least not of the types described above. I kept the lawn mowed (through my husband) cut the branches, try to keep the plant lice and ants (yes I know how they are related) in range, for the sake of my neighbour who acts about them like their are spreading the black death, and I excelled all dandelions (yes I know how they are related to ants) I could and can find by hand because that is the only organic agreeable manner I know. Every other plant in my garden depends on my definition whether it is a weed or not and has to be removed. Besides that – I would call it chores – I discovered some odd things about myself when it comes to the fun of it.
Every year I plant some vegetables in pots on the terrace and for some strange reason I’m good on the complicated one’s and suck on the easy care one’s. Last year I had marvelous aubergines in a pot
and I’m always good with tomatoes even special varieties like coeur de boeuf (sorry, no tomato pics, you just have to believe me).
But I don’t get along with stuff like courgettes or pumpkins which are always described as they are growing on their own. They are recommended in books for children as an easy plant that will lead to success, which obviously not only children like when it comes to gardening. I pick seeds that are cultured for pot growing and I put them in large pots, water and dung a lot but it never works out. Last year I had two plants Hokkaido pumpkins – and I gathered two pumpkins. And don’t asked me about the courgettes.
Everybody told me they will overgrow anything and I should dare to plant more than one otherwise I would have to eat courgettes, and only them, for the rest of the season. It turned out to be a myth. Maybe squash don’t like me or my pots or my terrace or the nice view of the alps I give them. Every year they grow a lot of male blossoms (yes, I know they have male and female blossoms) and only a few female which die before the fruit is developed enough to get eaten. Should I give them hormones? I almost as far just to see if it works.
This year seems to be no exception. I planted two plants of climbing courgettes and one already died. The other one looks good so far.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t depend on the fruits of my pots to make a living or provide our daily supply. I have well access to swiss supermarkets. But especially with the courgettes I somehow start to take it personal. I already getting mixed feelings about the ones my husband bought for diner, lying in the lower drawer of my fridge. Like getting into a feud, just don’t know against whom or what. Maybe the ants are after me. It could be their revenge for killing their settlements of juicy, sweet plant lice. They sit together in the places I still haven’t located (and probably never will) and making fun of me.