Battle in the garden!

Bugs! not the sneaky electronic kind, though I suspect they might be much easier to deal with. Actually I reckon they could be quite fun but that’s another story. My battle is with the six or eight legged kind… no, what am I talking about? Snails have only one foot and caterpillars considerable more so forget I said that. What I mean is those with more legs than my cat are the ones I am particularly un-partial to. Horrible things that lurk inside every flower pot just waiting for me to come across them. I am certain it is a deliberate conspiracy, I mean no matter how many times I clear the webs, and hopefully the spiders too, I find myself walking into them as I go down the path… Urgh! But that is just my problem, the ones that attack my effort at growing stuff are the ones that really bug me.

This year I have decided against vegetables, the bugs outnumber me! Instead I thought I would plant flowers. Last week I had an angel visit me, no silly, not the winged kind. I have a friend who I have been friends with since Uni five or six years ago and he is truly one of life’s angels. Every time I speak to him or he sends me some of his writings and musings, he uplifts me. I am transported to wherever he has been. I adore the colourful people he has met and his description of them and I suppose I envy a bit all the travelling he does. Yet, I hate myself for this envy because Bobby has FM and he is so often in dreadful pain, walking eases him and he backpacks all over the UK. I am blessed because I get to share his wanderings but more than that I am blessed with his positivity. When I am in pain and feeling sorry for myself, I just read some of my friend’s writing. He has a magic way of healing self pity, I haven’t worked it out yet but that’s why I call him my angel.

Going back to the visit last week I will give an example of his kindness and generosity. Bobby knows I love my garden and he took me out and bought me some trays of bedding plants. What better reminder to be positive, every time I walk into my garden. That’s what he does. I have planted so many pots with flowers, every little corner of the garden has a little plant growing and because I got back into the garden, I gave in and planted some vegetable seeds, just for fun. I have nowhere to put anything but well, it’s a challenge.

I planted trays of radishes and salad leaves, pots of beetroot, so I grow one to a pot!! kohlrabi – the same one to a pot. I haven’t gone for the big plants apart from two tomato plants a friends husband gave me and  – my pride and joy- a cauliflower!

I hear you laugh and I know it’s not really a flower, honest, but well this is a real challenge. I used to have two, I still do. Well two young plants were given to me and I duly planted them, one is one of last years potato sacks and another in a large pot, so why is one absolutely magnificent while the other a small weedy little thing? I just don’t understand. every day I go out and check the leaves for butterfly eggs and bugs, I water and feed  them carefully, I even talk to them. Even Harry is getting excited about the one cauliflower that is really thriving. It is this cauliflower that also encouraged me to plant more veggies. But this time in small pots singly, more to see what happens than anything.

Going back to the bugs… monkey peas rule ok in my garden, that’s woodlice to everyone else, grubs, caterpillars, flying bugs of every kind, weevils, ants, greenfly… I could go on. I sprayed some ant powder round a pot the other day and I swear I could hear a spluttering coming from beneath it. I moved the pot cautiously to find a tiny frog about the size of an elongated 50p piece. He allowed me to pick him up and just looked at me as if to say, ‘What the heck do you think you are doing?’  I felt guilty as he looked at me, this tiny amphibian sitting perfectly still in my hand who would normally need to be held by his leg to keep him still. The sun was beating down and I was afraid he would dry out so I placed him carefully on a cool rock underneath the ferns beside the shed, apologising profusely. He had disappeared a little later so I hope he suffered no ill effects.

I started to look at all the other creatures in my garden. Tiny ants carrying huge white eggs, spiders making a meal of some fly that might have eaten my plants, monkey peas bustling about trying to keep out of the glaring sun, minding their own business, centipedes scurrying out of sight, tiny red spider mites, so red against the green of the leaves.. Oh so many just doing what come naturally, well until I come along with my sprays and powders. Trouble is I feel sorry for them. I think they call it personification. I imagine the little ant carrying its precious load so carefully, a baby in its arms, the caterpillar just wanting to become a butterfly, snails with their rows of teeth just looking for a place to dine… ooh. I walk away and leave them in peace, my mind torn in two. Do I leave them to run as they please in their busy tiny… destructive ways, or do I kill them and give my poor plants a chance. I do battle with myself. Don’t the plants deserve a chance too?

As I sat and pondered beside the pond I noticed some beautiful damsel flies laying their eggs on the surface plants in the water, others were mating with their beautiful little heart shapes, red ones, blue ones. I watched for a while and I put my insecticides away until I feel stronger… Then as I sat watching again a tiny blue butterfly fluttered past me and sat on the mint. An insect angel saying thank you? Grrr… they won the battle – again… but just for today!

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