The Garden: a chance encounter


A woman started talking to me in the foyer of the large Tesco Extra earlier this week. We were stood by a large eye-catching display of bulbs and tubers. She had an armful of boxes, I was picking things up and putting them down again. I’m not know for my decisiveness and need a decent amount of thinking time, especially when it comes to the garden.

“I wasn’t going to say anything, but you have to get these lily bulbs.”

I was listening to Women’s Hour at the time and was totally immersed in a feature on honour crimes. Despite being well-versed in the Yorkshire ability to start a conversation with a brick wall, I didn’t think it’d happen in the foyer of a 24-hour Tesco Extra. More fool me.

“I’m sorry?” said I.

“These lily bulbs. I bought them last year and they were beautiful. Lovely strong stem, flower the size of my palm. Hang on, I’ve got photos.”

She slid the armful of boxes onto a shelf and whipped out a large smart phone. A few taps later, and there was what I can only describe as a multitude of lily pictures mere inches from my face.

“Just look. Look at that stem thickness. That one is when I put the pot on chair. That’s my husband’s hand next to the flower. He doesn’t normally hold with lilies, but I think he’s coming round. He was very taken with this one, especially when I told him it was 2 for £5 at Tesco’s! So, you see, I had to come and get more. It made my summer last year.”

That’s the beauty of gardening. It’s like being part of a club, one where you can share pictures of last summer’s lilies without fear of mockery or disinterest. I was genuinely interested to see how her lily bulb flowered, as it gave me a decent idea as to how other Tesco bulbs might flower. They were lovely pictures, too, and that stem was gloriously sturdy.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was after dahlias.

This week’s gardening

Nowt much happening, to be honest. I’m on tenterhooks, gearing up for the weather to warm up and planting season to commence proper. I have planted my sweet peas seeds, and they’re currently resting quietly in a propagator by my back door. It’s not particularly interesting as yet, hence this uninspiring picture.


We’ve got an overgrown Clematis by our front bay window. I don’t think it’s ever been chopped; the stems are almost impenetrably tangled and woody. In the summer, snails use it as a climbing frame to slime all over our windows. You get a super view of the snail’s undercarriage, but it’s murder getting slime off faux stained glass. My secateurs are itching to get snipping and properly chop it back. However, we don’t know what kind of Clematis it is. I’m fairly sure it can take a hard chopping but I don’t want to kill it. Google says to wait until I can see growth, but I don’t think Google takes into account just how overgrown this thing is!

Next weekend, I’m going to get snipping. It’ll be alright, and if it isn’t… Well, it ain’t my choice of climber.

Until next week,

Caitlin x

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