It’s Easter weekend – how did that happen? April will soon give way to May, and then we’ll be half way through the year already. Time is racing ahead. Soph and I could have certainly done with the TARDIS this past week to help get us around. From giving our first ever talk with the RHS over at their Cardiff Flower show, to planting our first seedlings in the veg plot and creating our garden paths, we’ve been very busy.
That’s right, this year we’ve hitched the Agents of Field wagon onto the mules, and are going on the road. Stopping at various festivals along the way, we’re talking about our ‘growing’ adventure, our change of lifestyle, and are encouraging others to grow their own food.
On arrival in Cardiff, we found ourselves immediately among friends. First up, Agents of Field’s pal, Mr Peter ‘silky tones’ Donegan. You may know him from his excellent podcast The SodShow (if not, I urge you to check it out). Along with garden landscaper Ed Burnham, Peter designed the Perennial garden that was exhibited at Cardiff; a modern urban private space celebrating the 180th anniversary of Perennial, the charity that helps and supports people in horticulture. Peter and Ed got a well-deserved silver medal for their efforts (well done lads!), and Soph managed to bag herself a private tour of the garden!
Also on the scene was social media juggler and podcaster Skinny Jean Gardener, Mr Lee Connelly. Another man that doesn’t stop working, and the Hannibal Smith of horticulture; he always has a trick up his (occasionally-sequinned) sleeve, and loves it when a plan comes together. Having just designed and showcased the successful Family Fun Garden at the Ideal Home Show earlier this month, it was good to catch up with him. Not only was he hosting Facebook live for the RHS at the event, but he lent his support by cheering us on in the Talks Theatre Tent.
After entering the tent and setting up, we figured that as no one was at RHS Cardiff to specifically see us, we’d get through our talk quickly, quietly and to a minimal audience. How naive we were! There was a great crowd, offering fantastic support and asking question after question. In the safe hands of the hugely talented James Alexander-Sinclair who hosted the event, we shared the triumphs and failures of our gardening journey. And (shocker!) people seemed to be interested in it.
We then raced back home to continue work on the kitchen garden. I’d been having some concerns about using sub-base stone when laying the paths around my veg beds, but then I discovered a more eco-friendly alternative: gravel stabilisation grids. Quick and easy to install, they create a firm, free-draining gravel surface, they’re manufactured from recycled materials, they’re environmentally friendly and fully recyclable. Having got them all in place, I quickly moved onto digging out and creating a bay area for my water butts. I’m not looking for sympathy, but I dug it out from a three foot slope on the hottest day of the year… I know, I’m a slave to the cause.
However, spring is moving on, and I can’t afford to delay my growing, which is why I planted my first plants into a couple of the raised beds. Broad beans and onions. What a dream team!
It was a wonderful thing to finally do what I’ve been preparing to do since last autumn… actually garden!
Adding my final thoughts to this week’s post, I’m distracted by the growing list of jobs I’ve scribbled down on my notepad for this week.. and it’s not even Monday yet! But then, if I didn’t enjoy it, why do it?