I join gardening clubs, Facebook groups, gardening forums and follow gardening bloggers etc. and see all the gardens which their owners describe as ‘small’. I would like to have their version of a small garden. I could grow enough produce to keep our town supplied with fruit and vegetables for many months. However, I have to make the best of what I have and that is a ‘bijoux garden’. Bijoux is described a small, exquisite and delicately wrought, I can at least fulfil one of the requirements.
I think I now appreciate my small garden after attempting to get an allotment plot. The dreams of having a large vegetable patch faded rapidly when discovering you do have to brush with humanity and red tape when trying to get it set up. Overenthusiasm of a fractious management and lack of forward thinking by organisers, turned a dream into a nightmare. The site was on a small, but steep hill with limited access and the thought of pushing a wheelbarrow full of compost, uphill was enough to give anyone, even someone with the strength of Charles Atlas, second thoughts. Not that we have anyone close to being like Charles Atlas in our community. The heaviest thing some of them lift, is probably a pint of beer.
My biggest problem with growing small-time is if I have to compete with the hungry caterpillars, snails, slugs and ants, they never leave enough for me. I need a plan, one which will deter even the most ferocious of beasties. I tried various products to stop the march of slugs and snails, and now I don’t believe a word of advertisements. Apparently you only see about 5% of slugs overground, the rest are lurking below, waiting for the cool, damp evening before they go on the rampage. There is no deterrent that will get rid of cats, I have tried many of the gadgets whose manufacturers promise will work with any moggy – and they don’t. They are sly, they know how to annoy you and they make a hobby of it (both moggies and manufacturers of the useless gadgets).
I am trying to work out a plan for next year, which will protect the produce from the marauding monsters and allow me to actually make use of my own crop. There is pleasure in walking into the garden, picking the odd strawberry or some of the peas or other fruits. They appear to be reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, and shout ‘eat me’ as I pass them.
Going into the garden when it’s dark and all the solar lights have come on, it is whimsical, but there is a pleasant, peaceful feel to it and the whole garden takes on a different aspect as it changes into a wonderland. It is still quite busy with nightlife as the moths flutter around the lights and the peace or tranquillity gets interrupted at the sight of a slug or snail, heading for your prized vegetables.
I wouldn’t be able to walk in an allotment after dark and appreciate the same pleasure my little ‘bijoux’ garden gives me.