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A Shout From The Attic: Gardening

Ronnie Bray recalls his frustrated attempts at gardening.

To read earlier chapters of Ronnie's autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_shout_from_the_attic/

One-twenty-one's back yard was paved with big sandstone flags, as was the roof, except that the roof’s tiles were smaller and thinner. Down the straight side of the yard on the left was a strip of earth, well trodden, bare and flat, which was referred to as “the garden.”

Now I had seen gardens and on a few occasions picked a few flowers from other peoples’ gardens without permission and stuck them into the hard soil of our bit of this sceptred isle as far as possible without breaking their fragile stems. They always died and so for a time I gave up gardening.

One year I was surprised to see a fine crop of tall fleshy stemmed wild snapdragons arrive spontaneously on the patch. From these volunteer plants I learned something of the will-to-live that unwanted things have. I also discovered that the stems could be easily chopped through with a blunt dinner knife and in about five minutes I cropped the rapidly reappearing stems time and again but each time they sprang up like relatives at a will reading. I despaired of becoming their master and gave up gardening again, this time for many long years.


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