I am often asked what it is I love about gardening. Why I spend my spare time ankle-deep in nettles, (don’t get me started on all the nettle stings I’ve had in the past week), why I go out in the rain and wind to pull weeds or plant seeds. I never quite know how to answer. The truth is, there are a million reasons why I garden. Far too many for me to even begin to articulate. But, if I had to give one solid reason, it would be this: I love gardening because, every time I go to my plot, I see something new. Something I’ve never seen before, something exciting or unusual or amazing. Whether its a hare or a pheasant on the plot, a new plant growing, the birds signing in the trees or a neighbouring plot with a great new feature, there’s always something that creates wonder. I don’t think I’ve ever been to the allotment without being amazed by something. It is an education like no other. I guess that’s why I continue to garden, why I go out in the cold and wet, even when my crops fail and the weather infuriates, there’s always a reason to keep going.
This morning nature surprised me again. I went to the plot for a very quick visit, it was wet and miserable and it wasn’t too easy to drag myself out there. I simply wanted to plant my celeriac which was given to me by my dad who grew it from seed. I instantly noticed how much has grown in the past week, the plot was looking green and pretty, but I always think it looks nicer in the rain.
I was inspecting my thriving rhubarb, when I noticed a huge mushroom growing on the path in the shade of the rhubarb leaves. Now, I am not a fan of mushrooms or fungi, but this was fantastic. It was very large and pretty, with a spongy texture, I’d never seen one like it before. I have since been informed that it looks like a morel, which are quite hard to find and very popular and supposedly delicious (I never thought I’d use the word delicious to describe a mushroom). It was a bit decayed though so I didn’t pick it, I left it there to continue on its fascinating life cycle.
The mushroom isn’t the only thing to have shot up virtually overnight however. My peas have started to germinate, as have my broad beans. In my root beds there are beetroot seedlings and radishes and I think there might be parsnips but its difficult to differentiate them from the weeds. My fruit bushes have all taken a growth spurt, my blueberries, gooseberries and blackberries all have foliage now and my raspberries are flying up at an alarming rate.
The thing I was most pleased to see however, was my asparagus bed. Last year, I planted a few crowns in the hope I’d get some but they didn’t take too well and I wasn’t quite sure if they’d come back. I’ve been told for months to give up and plant something else but lo and behold, there’s some very small spears of asparagus beginning to come above ground. It’ll still be another year or two before we can even think about harvesting any but it’s good to know they’re there.
There’s still a lot to be planted out, it’s still quite early in the season; and despite the bad weather, the garden continues to grow. I continue to grow with it.
If I’ve learned nothing else in the past year it’s this: life will always find a way, even when you’ve had no hand in it and that is why there will always be a million reasons for a gardener to keep gardening.