Stand up comedian, Rhod Gilbert earliest gardening memories were rather painful. “My Mum used to send me out to the garden with a bowl to pick fruit for hours at a time. I remember picking gooseberries, then topping and tailing the damn things until my finger bled and all the horrible bits got stuck under my nails. It was like the workhouse. Blackcurrants weren’t much better, though I didn’t mind picking raspberries and strawberries so much. Has this traumatic childhood experience put him off growing his own? “Not at all,” he laughs, “I’ll do the same as my Mother and get someone else to do the picking!”
“The lads and I (Rhod shares the house with 3 mates) are intending to tackle the garden next. We’ve done a lot in the house, which I’ve talked about on the radio programme (Radio Wales Saturday mornings) though I still haven’t got any furniture in my room after 9 months and everything’s still in boxes. Getting started in the garden is proving to be a bit harder. We go outside, lean on the wall and talk about it but haven’t really got going yet. We’re all foodies, (it’s not all takeaways and beer here believe it or not) and we’d love to be growing our own veg and herbs. We’ve put four packets of herbs in window boxes already – the thymes doing well but I can’t remember what the others are. I s’pose I’ll find out in a while. The garden’s never going to be Chelsea Flower Show. I think it’s a lot easier to pretend I like weeds and I’m going for the natural look – I think a garden can look too neat. I wouldn’t want ours to look too posh.” he says drily!
“We can see ourselves spending a lot of time out there in the better weather. We bought a massive BBQ and proper cover for it last week but someone said it takes about 2 or 3 hours to put together so it’s still in the box in the kitchen at the moment. With the cover over it.”
“I definitely won’t be mowing the grass either,” he adds, “I used to mow my mother’s lawn until my mate mowing his mother’s lawn in his flip flips and Yep you’ve guessed! (He lost his toes). I stopped mowing grass then and have never done it since.”
“We are getting a composter too and we’ve talked about getting solar panels for the roof. We are quite good with environmental stuff really, we all recycle and we are changing to a green supplier.”
“Oh and after The Big Welsh Challenge (where Cerys Matthews coached Rhod to speak Welsh), I can now say ‘rwy’n mynd i’r ardd’ (I’m going in the garden). It won’t be long before I’m gardening in two languages!”
Gone To Pot
Most plastic flowerpots are made from polypropylene which few recycling outlets accept so I looked at http://www.world.org/ for some ideas of recycling them closer to home.
Fill partially with sand and use as an outdoor ashtray (covering the drainage holes first presumably!)
Use as a scoop for compost or pet food
Use for collecting chicken eggs or fruit and veg from the garden.
Use larger pots for storage - kids toys, rags, cleaning products
Use as waste paper bins (putting a plastic bag inside will recycle those too)
I have recently been impressed by an ingenious growing system that utilises vertical spaces such as walls and fences and is widely and successfully used in Italy and France. The Living Wall planting grids allow you to literally vertically plant a wall and create a whole new look for your plot. Once planted, the system is watered via a reservoir which drip feeds each compartment. For larger areas, a drip feed system is recommended and with a little tender loving care the results are quiet beautiful. Visit http://www.gardenerssupplycompany.com/ for more details and some inspirational photographs.
Did You Know?
This is the time of year that you can hear the cuckoo heralding the arrival of Spring. Folklore suggests that if you are standing on soft ground when you first hear the cuckoo, you will have good luck but if you are standing on hard ground then hard luck will follow.