This blog is written by member, Joyce Skinn, and was inspired by our ‘Green Thumb Guides’ forum challenge. The challenge invited members who have an interest in Learning & Expert Talks to share a post into the forum with a gardening tip they wished more people knew about. We chose Joyce as our winner and so are sharing her entry today as a full blog for you to enjoy.
I could never claim to be a gardener, instead I would describe myself as a plant rescuer! My Mam once bestowed the title “green fingered one” on me, because she knew she could rely on me to provide a new, safe environment for plants which she could no longer keep alive!
These were plants which she had either overwatered, or kept in a desert state on a hot windowsill, until they cried out for help! Pot plants on windowsills do need extra care. She once said ‘I don’t know why people keep giving me plants, as I just haven’t a clue how to look after them! They look pretty when I first get them, then it’s all downhill from then onwards!’
I would lovingly restore them to their former glory, if there was an ounce of hope left. The poor plants would be literally clinging to life by the time Mam realised it was time to send them to “the green fingered one”.
So to this day I am a plant rescuer and proud to say that I love restoring and nurturing plants.
Let me tell you stories of two garden plants that I have successfully rescued and replanted. The first being some beautiful forget-me-nots which I found in my son’s garden (pictured below).
He was planning to move house and one day, invited me to help myself to as many plants as I wished from his large garden, which was, by then, largely overgrown, as he’d been working away from home.
Of course it goes without saying that his was an offer I just couldn’t refuse!
I found forget-me-nots growing amongst stones and between the cracks in the crazy paving of his garden path. They had spread from the surrounding border of the garden, where they were happily growing amongst buttercups and daisies, with some dandelions too. I thought it best just to take the forget-me-nots from the garden path as I already had enough buttercups, daisies and dandelions in my own garden, without adding more.
Buttercups and daisies are so easy to press, by the way, and once dried I laminate them and mount them onto homemade cards. They hold their colour too, which is encouraging. My Grandchildren love to make chains from buttercups and daisies too.
The forget-me-not roots were easy to lift from the stones surrounding them. It’s a well-known fact that roots of plants are always shallow in stony areas, therefore easy to lift. Also, if they can grow in stony areas, they will be hardy enough to survive replanting, which was well-suited to my plan.
When I brought them home I merely put them straight into a well composted area of my garden and watered them regularly until they had settled in.
A friend warned me to be careful as they would spread, but that was exactly what I wanted them to do. To feel at home in their surroundings and take root was my aim.
I suppose people might say ‘Ah, yes but they’re really just wild flowers like the dandelions, buttercups and daisies, so easy to grow anywhere!’
I can’t take credit for growing the dandelions, buttercups and daisies, as they have made my garden their home for many years, but I love the wild and free feel that they give. My decision to let them grow wild and free came from a TV presenter on a gardening programme I watched a few years ago, who suggested setting apart an area of your garden to grow wild flowers. I decided I’d take their advice.
I now enjoy a wild tangled mass of plants, which are hardy enough to withstand my six grandchildren playing amongst them.
The bluebell is my next rescued treasure
This again has its own special story. In 1986 we moved into our house, next door to a lovely lady called Margaret. Margaret’s generous and kind nature blessed me many times.
I had four children still at home, and gradually Margaret’s daughters all left home. Whenever one of them came to stay she would stock up her pantry with biscuits and treats. After they left, she would often knock on my door to offer any extra food that she couldn’t use.
I was so grateful, and so were my teenagers!
Our shared driveway had cracks in the concrete, through which Bluebells grew each year. After Margaret moved into a bungalow, our new neighbours decided to renew their driveway. The concrete had to be removed before the new drive could be laid.
As I watched the men working to clear the ground, my heart was moved to take action. After the men had finished for the day, I dug up some of the Bluebells and planted them under my dining room window, to save them from the skip!
Margaret sadly passed away this year, and will be greatly missed by her family and friends, and me too.
My consolation is that each year in May, I will have hundreds of bluebells to remember Margaret and her kindness to me. Rest in Peace Margaret, till we meet again.
The moral of my tale is, encourage wildflowers and they’ll give you years of pleasure.
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