21 June

The bleak midwinter

It’s midwinter and it’s a good day for winter planting!

I’m not much of a gardener, so I don’t know when to plant geraniums (although I do know that you plant garlic on the shortest day of the year and harvest it on the longest) but if you plan to:

  • grow presents[1]
  • grow fruit and vegetables for the Christmas board[2]
  • grow flowers for your Christmas display

decide what you want, work out when to plant it and get it into your calendar… or, in the case of garlic, into the garden.[3]

21 jun 2016.jpg
Pot luck.

My brother Matthew isn’t much of a gardener either[4] and he told me today that although he has always assumed that his inner city terrace house was a mere stepping stone to a rambling suburban house in a shady, classic garden,[5] now that he is reviewing his life based on what he has, rather than what he thinks may be around the corner, he has recognised that he is happy with his current abode: it’s the right size for him,[6] he likes the furniture and decor,[7] the location is very convenient and he barely manages to control his two square metres of cumquats and low maintenance ground covers and doesn’t particularly want to spend his weekends pruning and mowing. So he’s going to stay where he is… and renovate the bathroom. (Just as well he doesn’t have to have it done by Christmas!)

[1] I’m thinking hanging baskets here, not my artist friend Sharon’s mould Christmas trees.

[2] Or even fungi. When my friend Jill was living in a flat in her student days, she grew three different kinds of mushrooms in her bedroom (Deliberately. Although her best friend was living in a share house that was so damp that the occupants grew toadstools in the shower accidentally) and she used to bring a bouquet as a present when she went visiting.

[3] My friend Fiona’s daughter Eloise seriously believed for most of her primary school years that the absence of vampires around their house was entirely due to her mother’s garlic crop.

[4] He once assumed that spirit gum and ghost gums were the same thing.

[5] I think his vision included a hammock but not a hedge trimmer.

[6] “Having a small wardrobe is a good excuse not to go clothes shopping,” he says.

[7] Matthew says his signature style is low key, easy living. Wendy calls it “Lazy Bachelor”.

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