Thursday, August 12, 2010

'now we see as in a mirror, dimly'

Looking 50 boldly in the face, (the approach of it, not the event) I commissioned a portrait, grandly in oils; a sign of security and self acceptance. I have been quick to criticise women who don't face up to their age and I marvel at the filter of denial that the mirror seems to be seen through. Marvel not. When it came to securing the image of how I wanted to be seen, guess what? Nothing was suitable and everything made me look too old.
The artist tells me he is in a new phase. In the last one he looked for beauty and put it in. Now he is embracing the wilderness. O Oh.
Well I've sorted out a young thing outfit and console myself with the concept of Dorian Grey. That didn't come out of nowhere.
Anyway, it is enough to be seen through the eyes of love.

Today it rained which seemed a good time to pot up some strawberries heeled in the glasshouse. They travelled by handbag down from a North Island flea market, wrapped in newspaper and rootbare. They have spent more weeks than I care to admit to stuffed in the ground as opposed to planted. I've potted them up in my woodland mix: wood chips, leafmould, blood and bone and a bucket of garden dirt. The dirt widens the range of micro activity around the roots and introduces the same flavours (for want of the right word) the plant will meet when it gets to this garden. Now that they are in pots they can beef up a root ball and then be hardened off in the shade house before going outside. The details will make the difference.

I was quite pleased with them until I looked back at an autumn file photo of my own runners. The light looks so different and maybe that is partly why the greens are warm.They are also growing vigorously, another point of difference between the two.

Moving right along I dug in the last bed of black oats. Normally the ground should be left for 3-4 weeks before planting else young plants will be starved of nitrogen by the decomposition process. Last year it was a month before the seed potato threw up shoots so there is my 3-4 weeks. However, there is always an however, by the time the seed goes in next week it will be two weeks later than last year. Will they sprout in two weeks and suffer? Will it matter? We can only wait.

Timing is all important with a green crop. There are premium times for each plant to be dug in, some flowering (broad beans), all pre seeding I would guess, and the softer the plant the easier it is to chop up. You could haul the tops off to the compost and with oats there is a thick root mass so still plenty of organic material for the microorganisms to work on.

The other thing is that after a month of decomposition you start to lose the goodness. So many things to consider or ignore. My primary aim has been to get a 3rd crop rotation before new potatoes go in again (and again and again) and the soil is definitely the better for it.

We had a family interview for Louis' LIA (language immersion award) and it was interesting to see ourselves/myself through yet another lens. One thing I hadn't thought about is that our main family recreation is eating together. No wonder it is so important to have great crops of new potatoes and strawberries upon strawberries upon strawberries.
I'll give Monty Don the last word which applies equally well to gardening or any other past time.
'It is important to remember that having made your own planting rules, you are free to break or change them. In fact it is probably vital to do so, otherwise you risk disappearing up your own rigidly controlled horticultual nether regions. ' Posted by Picasa


  1. Cor that Monty Don sure has a great turn of phrase. I gather Bill is doing a portrait? As my mother in law says, "life is a one way street and there is no chance to do a u-turn." Funny this ole journey life, isn't it.

  2. Strawberries and potatoes are two things we always have in the garden, too. I have never been so organized as to have crops solely for soil condioning though.
    My rewena starter has gone all alcoholic...I think I may have overfed it, leading it into a life of excess and debauchery.

  3. Dear Miriam _ Ros and I say what are you thinking. You need a good smack!!! You are 18 months younger than me- nowhere near 50 currently look 35- not one gray hair in sight and the body of a 20 year old - although Ros says your lingerie could be better!!! Your portrait willb e beautiful!!!!!!!!!!