Kindness, madness, carelessness, drought

Squirrels don’t plant sunflowers, I thought to myself as I watered the shady garden this evening. So how did a drooping mini-sunflower come to be sitting in one of our ceramic planters? Well, it’s August – there are mad humans about the station and yes, this weekend, for once, the minor vandalism was human in origin, not attributable to the usual delinquent squirrels.

Two of our newly planted fuchsias in the platform planters have been sat on, some of their stems broken. Inevitable, I suppose, when the planters are at seat height and there are few seats on the platforms. I’ve come over all school-marm-ish and asked people waiting to please not sit on the plants. The response that makes me smile is ‘Oh but I’m only sitting on the wood’. It almost seems like people believe the plants aren’t really there.

But the oddest human intervention this weekend wasn’t careless – quite the contrary – just rather mad. On Saturday night, someone had scrambled into the shady plot, dug a hole in one of the ceramic planters, planted a miniature sunflower, taken the trouble to water it from the water butt using the watering can and chalked on the wall: ‘D + Richie’ with a tree and an arrow pointing to the sunflower.

It was really rather touching – but sadly misguided as the ceramic planter is in deep shade, not at all what sunflowers like. And also sadly, ‘D + Richie’ had managed to uproot two small heucheras from the planter. But all is not lost: I want you to know, D + Richie, that your sunflower has been repotted and is now recovering in my greenhouse. The heucheras have also been repotted and should grow back. And we’ll plant your sunflower in the tree pit where it should enjoy the full sun. Do come back and admire it some time.

Also to appear in the tree pit is a special French marigold, the one with bright jester strips, this time the result of kindness. This is a gift from Miranda @MirandasPlants, who sells beautiful plants at nearby Florence Road Market. She stopped by the garden last year to pick up some seeds from a flower we had growing. In return, this season, she’s donated this pretty marigold which will sway in the wind with our nicotanias and cosmos.

Meanwhile, the water butts have run dry again. It’s been a glorious three days with temperatures here in the mid-twenties, but we’ve had no rain this last week and the soil is parched.  In this dry weather at this point in the season, our fruit trees need 20 litres each a week – and there are seven of them. That’s 140 litres just for the mini-orchard alone. We have water butts storing around 500 litres – probably what we require for a weekly watering. I was counting on downpours this Tuesday but the forecast has changed. Fingers crossed it rains tomorrow.


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