Jenny Wren stops by for a brief moment, just long enough for me to identify her. She doesn't see me, there among the bushes in the back garden. If she had, I doubt she'd have stayed long enough for me to rejoice in her
It's been a Garden Day for me. Apart from a quick trip with Mr B to the local garden centre and a short period when Rain Stopped Play, I've been messing about with compost, pots and tiny seedlings.
Oh, yes, and bunting.
You may be thinking it's a bit early to be pinning up pennants with a whole week to go until our Golden Day. The thing is, I had purchased five packets of colourful bunting from our local
branch of Wilkinson's. A bargain it was, at just £1.10 a packet - but I had no idea how much I would need until I'd strung it all up. The fact that it's lightweight and plastic is in its favour as far as I'm concerned as it will (i) survive any sudden
rainfall and (ii) be more likely to stay where I have precariously pinned it.
There's something about bunting, don't you think? It cheers up a place - reminding me of my dear Mum who, when as a child I asked
why she wore lipstick, said it cheered up her face. I reckon I need at least as much bunting again to cheer up all the garden fences so another trip to town is called for.
I ask Mr B what he thinks of my bunting
(yes, I have completely claimed ownership) and wait for a compliment or two. He starts well but when I draw attention to my bunting over and over again throughout the day, his response becomes a trifle, how shall I put it?, automatic rather than sincerely
gushing. I, of course, am looking for a bit of gushing, sincere or otherwise, but Mr B is running out of gush.
We decide on a trip to the garden centre for different reasons. I want to buy hanging
baskets; Mr B wants to buy a fitting for our hose-pipe. This is, perhaps, the reason why our marriage has lasted for fifty years (minus one week!) - we are the perfect mixture of the romantic and the pragmatic. Guess who's who.
I freely admit I am cheating a bit on the hanging baskets front. Usually around this time of year I would be selecting the ideal mixture of flowers, planting them up carefully in my baskets, watering them generously, talking to them regularly by way
of encouragement. This year, needing an instant display of beautiful trailing petunias, I have bought them ready-planted. I explained my reasons to the woman I met at the garden centre who was also inspecting the baskets on offer. Why do we always feel the
need to justify ourselves to others? I mean, we're talking hanging baskets here, not Criminal Activity.
When we arrive home, it's to find a tray of beetroot seedlings on the door-step. I know just who they
are from. Who else would leave beetroot seedlings on our doorstep but our friend Avril? I plant them all out carefully into pots and give them a good talking to because they are looking a little spindly. This is not a criticism, you understand, simply being
realistic. I had great success with Avril's beetroot last year and I see no reason to think this year will be any different.
It seems to be our day for Garden Gifts. Our next door neighbours have given us
a tree, a present from their garden to ours. We think it is a cherry tree though it could conceivably be a silver birch. This says a lot about our Botanical Knowledge. Mr B is rapt at the thought of having his own cherry tree in our garden. Our kind neighbour
even plants it for us which is more than the garden centre would have done. Our garden border is being transformed - and it's not only the bunting.
I have a week to make both house and garden look
beautiful for our guests. Occasionally the whole challenge seems almost beyond me...
Then Jenny Wren pops up on the garden fence and suddenly Everything Seems Possible.