Ok, just typing this makes me feel old! I don’t know why, probably because I have had a long love affair with garden centres, (the cards, the gifts, the pretty flowers, the cafés with their tea in china teapots and slabs of Victoria sponge!), and my lovely husband has always laughed at the fact that I would go there over the pub every time & that they often have specials on things like walking sticks or orthopaedic slippers, but I love the illusion that I too could have a beautiful garden filled with plants. (Oh, and the gifts, and mugs, and the cake, and the reeaally pretty gardening gloves, and look, a pot that looks like a ladybird……..)

Trouble is, it’s just that, an illusion. I totally get the concept.

a)Buy seeds
b)Put in pot with soil
c)Keep alive with water and light
d)When plants start emerging and get big, prick out, (completely immature but I am smirking right now)
e)Keep alive for longer with water etc
f)Eat what it produces/admire flowers

Simple no? Erm, no it would seem. Every year I have these grandiose ideas about how we will be eating our own fruit and veg, sat in our planned out garden with shrubs and flowering stuff and little paths leading to tiny rose covered pagodas and then we rarely get past a! Which we manage every year, there are packets of seeds everywhere in our house, hidden in drawers, stuffed under books to try and ease my guilt. Seeds have use by dates, did you know? No I didn’t either until I realised I’d totally murdered all these baby plants and felt horribly guilty, I got really told off by Mr Bear when he found my stash and realised I’d wasted all that money!

If, on the lucky occasion, these little seeds make it into the soil, receive the appropriate amounts of light and water, I will generally then forget about them. This year, we have made it to e) but, it sort of feels a bit like cheating. Because we skipped steps b to d, (not a obviously!), those seeds are currently still on the window sill in the kitchen because we haven’t quite reached the cut off for sowing yet! They will be joining ’12, ’13, & ’14 in all their hidey holes very soon!

The main reason we have made it to e this year is because I bought the tomato plants from the garden centre as proper established plants, I have done a bit, they have since been re-potted, (5 points), grown some green tomatoes, (5 points), and well, that’s it! They are not ripening, (-5), they are all curling up and when I tried to straighten them up a stick, a bit snapped off, (-10!), the strawberries I bought from a stall on holiday ready grown, re-potted them, (+5), kept them watered, (+5), but now they have little aphids on & the fruit is too low in the pot so getting soggy, (-20), and sunflowers, I so had every intention of getting the kids to decorate the pots, watching their excited little faces as they shot up, measuring the height against themselves, watching them rotate to face the sun but, I never quite got the packet open! Oops. Luckily their lovely grandparents brought them some round, (established plants thankfully!), but now I’m wondering if they are some pygmy variety, as they have lots of flowers on but in the time we’ve had them, have not grown even a half inch taller!

Maybe I need to accept that there are lots of things I am very good at, but gardening might not be one of them, probably time for a phone call to Granny Green Fingers and get her over for a week!

Also, I wrote this 5 days ago, and update, the tomatoes are still green!!!