The name’s Ade, Agent Ade. I’m an amateur gardener, a novice, a man entitled to make mistakes, learn from them and move on. As part of an elite organisation, I till the rich soil in the hope of growing premium homegrown produce, even worthy of Her Majesty herself.
Our resources are limitless. We have a network of contacts all over the world, people who are only too willing to share their essential gardening information with a little gentle prodding. Twitter! Instagram! Blogging! Vital resources to peruse over a dry martini. Shaken, not stirred.
The amateur gardener is part of a growing movement. Look at the newbies arriving on abandoned allotment plots right now. They’re drawing up plans for the growing season ahead, setting up blogs to tell their tales and counting the days until they can harvest their first crop. All over the UK, RHS gardening courses are seeing a steady increase in applications. BBC2’s Gardeners’ World causes fights over remote controls nationwide, green-fingered viewers desperate to get their fix of special agent Monty Don and his loyal canine sidekick, Nigel. Walk into any newsagents and you’re spoilt for choice for which gardening magazine to buy.
But we have our weaknesses, our Achilles heal. Temptation! As a gardener it’s everywhere. From trying not too plant out too early, to avoiding the allure of Michael Perry and his Hydrangea minions. Stroking them, tempting you, he’s like the Blofeld of the QVC Channel. And let’s not forget Rob Smith of Dobies (AKA Goldfinger), he loves all things heritage. One wrong turn, and he’ll have you growing Honey Boat squash before you have time to get out your flask and corned beef sarnies. ‘Do you expect me to talk?’ ‘No Agent Ade, I expect you to buy!’
Of course this is all in jest, and my point is this. On the plot this week, I spent most of the day sowing and potting on. A few years ago it would have taken me twice as long. Why? Not only did I lack the confidence, but the knowledge. Thankfully, there is a lot of free information out there on the web, given by warm and generous people. Over the years it’s helped me to become a better gardener and has been an avenue to meet talented, like-minded people.
Some weeks, my blog posts are more informative, other weeks they’re the ramblings of a madman, and that’s the beauty of being a novice, there are no rules. We try, we fail, we succeed, we share. We have a go.
But today is the first day of spring, and there’s much this agent still needs to learn. So I’ve been taking some tips from the best agent in the business. Tall, suave, charming, in a class of his own.. And the other fella is Sir Roger Moore. (I was lucky enough to direct him on a shoot in Switzerland a few weeks ago.) He’ll guide me, and with a bit of luck, my (cubby) broccoli will flourish this year.