Today I managed to take another leaf out of my father’s book, to follow in his footsteps, be the unwitting victim of the power of fate and to once more be filled with the horror (the horror) of the dread of heredity.
The final day of the Premier League football season proved to be possibly the most crazed and nail-biting that any one can remember, with twists and turns of fortune throughout the afternoon. I, as a classic Man U fan (never been to a home fixture etc etc – you know the sort) was offered the chance to watch the excitement on TV, but I instead opted for an afternoon in the garden with the radio to give me the pictures.
I could not help noticing the similarity with 1966 when, on the day that Enlgand had a chance to lift the world cup, my father could not stand the tension of the moment and instead spent the afternoon digging in the allotment. I have never been able to understand how he missed the greatest moment in England’s footballing history. And yet, as I planted cosmos and nasturtiums this afternoon while Man City did their best to refuse to accept the title from united, the parallels were too close ignore.
In my defence, it was about the best day of the year so far, and the simple matter of being outside instead of in was overwhelmingly attractive. So an afternoon spent planting flowers – nasturtiums, cosmos, cornflowers and Nigella – into the borders to brighten them up later in the summer. And I will forever look upon the lavender beds next to the sundial with mixed emotions as it was there that I was weeding when City scored twice in the dying moments to clinch an amazing victory.
Elsewhere, the potatoes are really shooting up, with the parsley also actually arriving at the party, after weeks of sitting miserably in the wet cold soil. I am beginning to get some idea of the variations in germination for plants. All pretty basic stuff, but I did not realise how long the parsley – which has seeds like large bits of grit – would take to sprout compared with, say, the radishes next to it. But it has finally done so.
Meanwhile in the greenhouse, extra ruby chard I planted has just sprung up, compared with pin points of ruby in the beds, while the brussels and purple sprouting are jumping out of the soil in their seed trays. I might have to do something similar with the parsnips which I sowed, as per the packet instructions, one per 30 cms in rows outside, only to be solemnly informed by my “gardening conscience” (the old man) that parsnips have notoriously poor germination rates. So I am thinking that I might have to wait months only to discover that I have one parsnip to last me a year!
Never mind, I think I will plant some in
seed trays, in newspaper cones (I am advised on Saturday night by Piers and Hazel), so I can transplant easily. Might do the YouTube video “how to grow parsnips in paper” or some such title. Or maybe I will just sit outside avoiding telly, watching the garden grow – and all those different potatoes.