Friday, 7 October 2011

Guest post: Enthusiasm (by Ruth @MummaRuth)

Gardening, whether good, bad, small  large allotment scale or window box style can all be summed up by one emotion - enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm is what has us eagerly planting seeds in all manor of pots, trays and tubs in spring, This year, when we ran out of those, one of my boys was despatched to our recycling bin where he searched, with relish,  for toilet roll innards (cut in half you get great little bean pots), and margarine tubs work well instead of flower pots. Our best discovery tho was to use old tin cans, with a hole hammered into the bottom the metal acts as an extra heater and encourages the seeds to sprout. They wanted to join in and help because enthusiasm is infectious.

Enthusiasm is what has us all avidly checking our seed trays (probably more often than we'd admit) for signs of life. The rush of seeing each bean shoot reaching for the sky is enough to make even the most unemotional gardener smile!

Enthusiasm is what gets us up early, fills up our weekends and keeps us digging in compost, even when our backs are creaking and tiredness is trying to get the better of us.

The fervour of picking fresh raspberries, the excitement of the first runner bean, watching the bees dance in a frenzy over our flowers, even the vigorous weeding (mostly because it sneaks up on us), it can all be found under the banner of enthusiasm.

Being enthusiastic can also help when your gardening doesn't exactly go according to plan too. The rain flattened my lavender a few weeks ago, so I picked the damaged stalks and put them into a vase enthusiastically so that I could continue to enjoy them, just indoors instead of outside. If your lovingly tendered tomatoes fall foul of the dreaded blight, then you just channel your enthusiasm into making green tomato chutney instead.

However, here is where enthusiasm can also be a negative thing too. Not wanting any of my seedlings go to waste I found myself planting every single one, even the weedy looking ones, and now not wanting any produce to go to waste and my freezer door barely able to close, I have been overly enthusiastically cooking up all manner of chutneys, and really there is only so much chutney one can get through (especially since a similar thing happened last year!) My preserving pan, or cauldron as the boys call it, is often on the go and I now have so many jars of chutney, jam and raspberry vinegar that I could open a shop.

This year the boys have really been swept along on the tide of enthusiasm too, their sunflowers splendid, their sweetcorn brilliant and their pumpkins are looking wonderful.

Plants themselves can be enthusiastic too, even if neglected, like courgettes that grow whatever you do to them and runner beans that keep on running. Then there is the good old fashioned rhubarb, even the snails don't challenge that. Some of this years most successful plants have been self seeded from nit quite rotted enough compost!

Then there are the plants that I fervently crave but have no room to grow, and that us where foraging comes into it's own. Using natures own gardens to fill your plate. Who can resist blackberries (mine now fruit leather), apples (mine now dried apple rings) or Hazel nuts. This morning my 2 yr old and I went foraging for sweet chestnuts and found quite a few.

But here comes winter and somewhere between the last of the potatoes and squashes and the first of the spring bulbs my enthusiasm fades like fallen leaves from an autumn tree, if anyone has any tips on rekindling the enthusiasm in this bare patch I would love to hear them.


Ruth is a prolific forager and does an awesome line in garden rhymes - quick witty and meaningful. Leave a garden word below and I'll try and convince her to write some for you... 

This is the latest in my burgeoning basket of guest posts, where each guest writes about the emotion of their choice. Head over to the Guest Bed to find out more about:

Sophie's Love
Linnie's Disappointment
Leslie's Frustration
Claire's Sorrow
Catriona's Hopeless Romance
Kat's Anticipation
Ellie's Guilt and
Dave's Surprise...

There are more lined up and being worked on by friends and aspiring garden writers. If you're interested in jumping into bed with us email me

1 comment:

Esther Montgomery said...

I share an enthusiasm for over-doing seedlings. It's horrid to abandon any. I count them out when I start them off, rather than tip the whole packet across the seed-tray - but I still grow too many and the garden looks ugly when I can't bear to abandon the excess.

When you mentioned tins - I immediately grabbed the idea because I could cram more tins on a windowsill than ordinary pots. Now I have another inappropriate enthusiasm to stamp out!

The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

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I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.