Green Lizard's Blog

The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.

Gardening Ingredient Number 1: Optimism


If you ask me why I garden it’s because of the hope.

It’s an intensely optimistic pastime. It can be addictive.

Getting little teeny tiny seeds, that look like dust, out of a packet and throwing them on soil with a little water is bizarre. The dusty specks swell and produce tiny white roots.

The next thing they do is generate green shoots. With larger seeds they often create comical first leaves which are like energy cells. Their key job is to get the seed started. The courgette and pumpkin family are my favourites for this. They also seem to grow fast and unfeasibly.


So then there’s tiny teeny seedlings. They remind me of lemmings, headed for the light. Leaning in spindly formation in the direction of the sun. Constant, dedicated, where the sun goes, so do they.

Next in the optimism stakes are flowers. For every flower there’s the chance of a fruit. The kiwi plant in our back yard is a prime case in point. Last year, for the first time it produced five crazy little round flower buds. They looked like footballs hanging on ridiculous stalks. When they opened they resembled the most delicate flowers ever and soon after opening they

fell off.

Hope dashed!

Meanwhile the other fruit trees sustain the hope. Right now they’re covered in fruitlets. Mini apples, pears and plums by the dozen! Small, green and filled with enthusiasm.

This leads me to the frustrating tale of the one-plum-tree. It’s name speaks volumes. Year on year, it generates a few mini green plums like tiny olives. Hidden well amongst the foliage.

We hope; they hide!

Time passes Their numbers dwindle.

Eventually, regardless of our support and encouragement, the outcome is obvious. The tree embraces it’s name!

There’s other chances from cherries and nuts. We adopt more species; the choke berry and beauty berry. They are rivalled by traditional favourites, currants and raspberries. Sometimes challenged by bugs, these fruits do their utmost to reach adulthood.

Meanwhile in the veggie patch, optimism stretches across the calendar. In October we planted my favourite broad beans hoping for an early start in Spring. The weather is their challenger and this year failed to materialise; no snow, hardly any frost, ideal broad bean conditions.

Regardless of this optimum situation, the beans were a no show. The ones I gave my neighbour, planted too early in September, are mocking me across the fence as I survey the empty patch their cousins should occupy now.

Some permanent plants play games. Disappearing beneath the ground in autumn, will they ever reappear?

Rhubarb gets the ball rolling with its peculiar alien heads, followed swiftly by the asparagus. That’s such a bizarre sight. I’m sure one year someone will stick some supermarket impostors in the ground to trick me.

Globe artichokes are another teaser. And again there are neighbouring plants that torment me. I protected mine during the winter that never was while the ones across the path remained vulnerable and exposed. Now they laugh in the face of my feeble specimens, knowing their grower will neither cut nor eat the juicy heads, leaving them to decadently seed!

Bad organisation is another challenge. When I had too many courgette plants I shared them. Only to realise later they were the best crop of sweet dumpling pumpkins, that the new owner thought were decorative and who willingly sold us a couple, genuinely forgetting where he got them from. We’ve never grown them successfully since.

Then there’s the wish list. Every gardener has one and they differ vastly. I think we all have something we hope to grow better or at all. And when my beetroot are pathetic someone else will have abundance. This list seems to fluctuate from year to year. Hope is unpredictable. It’s like the ‘one that got away‘.

“I remember the year we had so many …. We could hardly get the harvest in. Never seen a crop like it!

And finally there’s sabotage! This year’s casualties have been the sweetcorn. The first batch of seedlings, carefully nurtured inside the house, moved comfortably to the little greenhouse until the pesky chickens snuck past the guards!

So optimism spurred us on to plant more, it was still early after all. In spite of our efforts, a cheeky pigeon did the unthinkable and munched batch two.

Batch three is in the ground now but my hope for them is dwindling as the storm clouds gather over head.

And as for hope? It springs eternal. Two plums please?



6 comments on “Gardening Ingredient Number 1: Optimism

  1. Debra
    May 17, 2014

    This is such a variety in seeds. I love watching them open; especially the ones that open with the seed still attached in the air and then watching how the root pushes down into the soil. Next year I will take some shots of that. They sometimes look like alien beings!


  2. quarteracrelifestyle
    May 17, 2014

    Yes, such is gardening. Some trials and frustrations that’s for sure, we think we have it all under control and forget nature plays it’s rather large part which often runs contrary to our intentions πŸ™‚


  3. truckerturningwrite
    May 17, 2014

    You first paragraph is the one for me. πŸ™‚
    That’s what amazes me about seeds. It’s like a miracle the way a little tiny seed can grow into a Turnip or whatever. Like new people being born. I don’t want to sound all hippy but I find nature the most amazing science of them all. Truly mind-blowing.


    • lizard100
      May 17, 2014

      Me too! Thanks for this comment. Bringing joy again!


  4. Rambling Woods
    May 19, 2014

    I love watching seeds sprout…magical


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on May 17, 2014 by in allotment and tagged , , , .

Blog Stats

  • 52,937 hits

Categories in my blog

Follow Green Lizard's Blog on

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,583 other followers

Blogs I Follow

I've Been A Guest Blogger on Uncle Spike's Adventures

Top Rated

Expat Since Birth

a blog by a multilingual expat-since-birth, linguist, researcher, mum of three, living in the Netherlands and writing about bilingualism, multiculturalism, parenting abroad, international life...

%d bloggers like this: