Archive for February, 2011
My first pot plant was acquired towards the end of the Second World War. I must have been twelve or thirteen. It was a memorable occasion. My dad had help organise a Whist Drive at a village hall, somewhere out in the country. My mum and I went there on the bus. It was a dark night with no moon. The bus driver dropped us off close to the hall. At least, that is what we thought. When the bus drove off we were left in utter blackness. We knew the hall was supposed to be the other side of the road but we also knew the country lane likely had a ditch each side. We stood while our eyes adjusted to the dark. Then a car came along and the lights showed us we were in peril, but also where we should be heading.We started to walk – blind leading the blind. Then all at once, someone opened the hall door and light streamed out. We quickly made our way while we could see. (Younger people please note — this is what the wartime blackout was like. We were allowed fine pencil beam torches but we did not have one with us. Even so, country lanes are still as dark unless there are groups of houses nearby with a street lamp. With my sight I can’t see in the dark and I have had problems even round here). Once inside the Whist Drive was about to start. But they needed an extra member. I did know how to play, card playing was one of our pastimes when we were kids — toys not being what they are today. Not sure that the other three people at the table were pleased but, of course, players change tables as each game is played. I guess most of the seasoned players there knew each other, I was just a kid from nowhere. However, Gladys is not so dumb and I gained second prize. (I don’t think the other players were pleased. They take the game very seriously and here this kid beats most of them!) I chose a lovely Azalea plant. It was kept in my mother’s front room. It did not take long to kill it off.
My skills have improved since then. I can keep plants alive for a remarkable time. An indoor azalea bought about eight months ago, was not happy so I put the pot outside among outdoor azaleas and then brought it in again late autumn. The last flower has now dropped. In a month or so I will plant it outside. I bought a cyclamen at the end of October and it is still as beautiful as the day I brought it home. We took a photograph on the last day of October and another one this morning. The only difference in the photographs is the view beyond the window — late autumn then, late winter now. I talk to my plants but I rather think the secret is in watering correctly. Or do we get an inner communication that speaks of their needs? Silly nonsense? I’m sure Ivy loves our little chats. And my African violets keep their flowers for months, some of them brighten our bathroom. I guess we get interesting views of each other!