Squirrel's Garden

Blogging the highs and lows of my attempts at allotment gardening

Location: Sherwood Forest, United Kingdom

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Just a little Humour but Too True for Comfort

Today I received an email which I hope you don't mind me sharing. It made me laugh, but it also made me think.

Imagine the conversation between "God" and St. Francis on the subject of lawns

GOD: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there in the Towns and Cities? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.

ST. FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers "weeds" and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

GOD: Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

St. Francis: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it -- sometimes twice a week.

God: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?

St. Francis: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

God: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

St. Francis: No Sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

God: Now let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

St. Francis: Yes, Sir.

God: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

St. Francis: You aren't going to believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

God: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life.

St. Francis: You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

God: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?

St. Francis: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

God: And where do they get this mulch? St. Francis: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

God: Enough. I don't want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have they scheduled for us tonight?

St. Catherine: "Dumb and Dumber", Lord. It's a really stupid movie about.....

God: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

I wonder what the reaction is to all our hard landscaping with stone, concrete or decking?

The New Season is Now Underway

The weather has finally decided to co-0perate with those of us who like to garden. It has been very warm here in Sherwood Forest for several days now and it is a real pleasure to be able to work with the soil again. There are still lots of organisational jobs that did not get finished, the slabbed patio area needs the edging slabs cut and laid, the storage bay needs a roof and a door.
On the plus side I did get my poly tunnel up and it is great to be able to raise some of my own seedlings.

This the view through one of the doorways which shows the new plot I recently acquired as an extention to my old one. The lines of straw are my experimental potatoes. I am growing several varieties using the no dig method. We will then see which we like the taste of best and which yield best using this method.

The fruit cage I built over the winter months has had a weed suppressant membrane laid between the fruit rows, and I have just started laying wood chip over this. The plan is that I will only have to care for the trees and not worry about keeping the weeds down in that area. The poly tunnel is just visible between the right hand posts, the greenhouse on the left belongs to my neighbour.

So far I have 3 desert apples, 2 cooking apple, 1 desert pear, 1 culinary pear, 2 cherries (1 desert 1 cooking) 2 damsons, 2 plums, redcurrants, gooseberries, (both to be cordon trained) and a row of blackcurrants alongside the trolley. I am standing among the Jostaberries to take this shot. On the right hand fence (out of view) I also have posts and wires in place to train Blackberries, Tayberries, and Boysenberries. Blueberries and Cranberries are in pots and the strawberries are in the vegetable plot. I have also inherited several mature red and green gooseberry bushes that were in great need of some serious pruning work done on them. These are now responding with a very healthy looking show of new growth and some of them are begining to set fruit already.
I guess you can imagine that I like my fruit.

My partner decided to snap a few shots too and caught me filling the watering can from one of my water butts. I must admit the plot looks a serious size from this shot, especially taking into account that there is a 10 ft long poly tunnel behind this shot and a wildlife area with a shed on it behind that.
Molly, my dog is on patrol. She likes to wander around the plot to keep an eye on my progress. It's nice she can do this now I have barriers between me and the neighbours, it gives her more freedom. So far she seems to follow my paths and I hope she continues to do this.

I also have broad beans, carrots, parsnips, peas, onions, radish, shallots, garlic, lillies, sunflowers and lettuce in the ground. Some of it is under fleece though as I still don't trust the weather yet.

Under the protection of the tunnel I have cabbages, lettuce, tomatoes, leeks, runner/french/broad beans, cucumber (crystal lemon) and some mayan gold potatoes in pots. These are the first really new variety of potato to be grown in Britain for about 200 years and they say the top Chefs are raving over them, but they are not good as boiled potatoes. I can't wait to try them.