Honestly, I never learn, do I?
Yet again, earlier this year (as in years past) I planted out ten sunflower seedlings in large
pots - and allotted to each the name of one of my Tremendous Ten grandchildren. The grandkids themselves (those who took an interest in my gardening gambles) couldn’t quite understand the order in which their plants were placed though in my mind it made
perfect sense. Okay, so they weren’t in age order but, having only enough compost for four large pots, I had allocated one pot per family.
more, the pots were placed against the the garden fence in the birth order of the grandchildren’s parents; this meant that the three youngest grandchildren were in the second pot, as befits the off-spring of the Middle of the Darling Daughters,
the second oldest of my own Foursome. I do hope you are keeping up - it really shouldn’t be that difficult.
Re-reading that last paragraph it occurs
to me that, in the interests of clarity, I should explain that I hadn’t actually planted the Rascally Trio in a giant flower pot, just a sunflower named after each of them. And therein lies my problem - each sunflower has taken on the persona of its
namesake in my mind. This isn’t just about growing sunflowers - it is far more personal than that...
Although all the plants had been grown from the exact
same packet of seeds there is nothing uniform about their progress. Some are huge, with thick stems and leaves as large as an elephant’s ears. They tower over the garden fence, checking out what’s occurring in the neighbours’ garden with
unapologetic nosiness. Others are, well, rather spindly though holding their own against the winds rather better than their taller companions (of which more later.)
it was Eleanor who caused me the most concern. No, not Eleanor herself, you understand, who is the dearest of girls. Next week she will be Sweet and Twenty and visiting her Grandad and me to celebrate her birthday when she will, I am sure, want to check on
her sunflower. Fortunately, all the tender loving care I have expended on her has paid off - she has grown tall and strong and will soon be bursting into flower. Her sister, Katie (they share a pot) was the second sunflower to bloom, beaten only by James (middle
of the Not So Very Little Welsh Boys) who is planted in the fourth pot along. He is not as enormous as Katie by any means, but he is perfectly formed and very, very beautiful. So far, three have bloomed, third place going to Faris the Rascal who is a combination
of Katie and James being tall, spindly and beautiful all at the same time.
So far, so good you may be thinking - except that a couple of weeks ago when high
winds attacked us, the first pot (containing Katie and Eleanor) and the third pot (containing Jack and Hazel) both toppled over. I had to rush out in my slippers and dressing gown early one morning to heave them back onto their feet (or whatever passes for
feet in a flower pot). Mr B, waiting for me to ask what he wanted for breakfast (I have to recite a whole litany of breakfast cereals before he makes his choice), couldn’t understand where I was going in such a hurry. He was even more perplexed when
he heard me soothing them in their distress and reassuring them that they would be perfectly fine now I had rescued them.
Except that one of them wasn’t.
Poor Jack had been beheaded. He was near to blooming too but there on the patio, next to the bird bath, was his head. I picked it up in trembling hands and carried it into the kitchen where I placed it, oh so lovingly, in water in one of the small plastic
dishes I use to serve up ice-cream when the littl’uns come to visit. Every morning since that fateful day, I have checked it out, hoping against hope that I might be able to spot signs of an unfurling. Nothing.
The only saving grace is that it was Jack who came a cropper and not one of the Twins. On his last visit, when I apologised profusely for the Unfortunate Consequences, he accepted the situation with
good grace. If I hadn’t known better, I might have thought he wasn’t that bothered. Had it been Tala or Lilia losing their heads, we would never have heard the last of it....
Interestingly, since losing his head, Jack has grown taller and taller - almost reaching beanstalk proportions...
I mustn’t do this
again. I must remember the dangers inherent in naming my sunflowers after my precious grandchildren.
Can someone - please - remind me next summer?