24 Jan 2013

This is Thursday

Today is Thursday

Thursday is my Friday.  Currently the end of the working week, day off and time to plan and catch up before Garden College on Friday and two whole days off at the weekend.  I love my life.

Today, sitting by the radiator (there's still snow outside), armed with two slices of hot buttered toast with marmalade (I have a friend who tells me off for using that old fashioned nursery phrase but, let's face it, 'Toast' just doesn't sum up the experience), a mug of coffee, a pile of books and a large seed box, I'm armchair gardening.

The books were free (except for Brian Capon, Botany for Gardeners on the top).  I recently discovered a local Books for Free recycled book shop nearby.  At each visit, you're allowed to take (and keep) 3 of someone's unwanted gifted books ... like a library with no return date.  The gentleman in the shop kindly let me have a double ration (he could see the gleam of obsession in my eye) so I came away with  two books on garden planning, a city gardener's handbook, the Tree and Shrub Expert, an illustrated book of herbs and a short biography of Gertrude Jekyll.  Bliss! I think these shops are popping up in empty shop premises all over the country so worth keeping a look out as they're a boon for avid readers of all genres.

Once the seed box has been sorted through, I'll put that away and get out my drawing board - I have to complete a page of garden design symbols and a drawing of a border (plant elevation) for an assignment due in next week. My own (community) garden is uppermost in my thoughts, I'm constantly visualising different planting combinations so mapping all this out on paper really helps to clear it out of my head.

I'll be ordering some Root Trainers for my sweet peas (a cuttings garden essential) and starting off my beetroot and broccoli in a windowsill propagator; these should be ready to plant out in about 6 weeks time, having been hardened off on the balcony for the last of those weeks.

By the end of all that, I think the "sun will be over the yard arm" (to quote my Dad) or perhaps it will just be time for a Spot of Afternoon Tea ...  Anyone else got any 'old fashioned' phrases that keep slipping into the conversation or is it just me that over-indulged with too much 'Miss Marple' / Joan Hickson at Christmas?


A further thought on root trainers:  In previous years I've used loo roll inners to start off my sweet peas, beans and peas.  Even microwaving the tubes before use has not stopped mould forming on the outside and, once planted, the cardboard takes ages to break down so the roots have to find their way down into the soil, rather than spreading out.  I haven't been impressed with the quality of plants produced by this method so this year I'm splashing out on buying root trainers.  The hinged ones allow the roots to be removed without damage prior to planting out and the shape of the trainers encourages a stronger root system by promoting the growth of fine hairs (better uptake of nutrients from the soil).



17 comments:

  1. toast and marmalade how English is that, yes it is the time of year for planning what we are going to grow this season, lets hope it`s a good one , all the best, David

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    1. Very English - and I didn't even mention the porridge I had earlier! I do so enjoy my day off but rarely achieve everything I set out to do but I have at least done a bit more planning today. It won't be long before we're writing of the progress of our seedlings (I hope!).

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  2. I'm probably of an age with your Dad, so let me correct you on the Yardarm saying. It should be that the sun is BELOW the yardarm - i.e. we sun has sunk beyond a certain level and we are at the end of the day. This was the time when sailors got their rum ration - hence we use the expression to mean it is time to have a drink (usually a cocktail before dinner).
    P.S. don't forget to keep a stiff upper lip!

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    1. Tickety boo, Mark - thanks for the correction! My Dad is retired Fleet Air Arm so would have got the saying right - must be my subconscious thinking of a refreshing libation when the sun's OVER the yardarm, i.e. at midday!!

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    2. No, Caro, if your Dad was in FAA he probably did see the sun from a different angle to all the rest of us land-lubbers!
      Adding to your vernacular vocabulary: In Cornwall, from where I hail, if something is good or well done, they say "Proper job, my lover!"

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    3. Actually you are both right,the saying is 'the sun is over the yardarm' but also it is right that the sun would NOT be over at the cocktail hour (definitely the best time of day!). It started on board when officers got their first tot of spirits at midday and then continued ashore as a figurative yardarm at the end of the working day, becoming the very civilised time of a pre-dinner drink. Mine's a horse's neck!
      (BTW this is from Sue - I don't know why I come up as anonymous)

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    4. Also, love the plates - I have exactly the same ones, perfect for two slices of hot buttered toast (has to be real butter!)
      Sue xx

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    5. Mark, your comment made me smile! My brother is Cornwall born (Redruth) and bred (Helston/Truro School for Boys) and uses that phrase all the time, although he says "Proper job, my 'andsome"!!

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    6. Oh well done Sue - you've solved the puzzle for us! Really it's a wonder we had a Navy at all with all the officers getting plastered at midday - maybe that accounted for their bold seafaring ways!

      The plates are fab aren't they? Now on sale at Waitrose, might have to get another ... !

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  3. What a wonderful idea, swopping unwanted books, I could do with that. I have far too many gardening books, I have to admit, most bought by myself, but now I find I'm referring to the same ones over and over. Interesting what you say about loo rolls for sweet peas, was going to try that this year but maybe it would be best if I buy some root trainers, many thanks!

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    1. Root trainers will initially be an expensive purchase but as I'll be using them every year, I don't mind the expense - especially if it gives me better flowers!! I'm very pleased with my book finds as they're relevant to what I'm studying at the moment - I was so thrilled when I found them but, you're right, I should go through my bookshelf and see if there's any that I no longer use.

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  4. A most enjoyable post! I love old fashioned phrases, many of which are in the cosy crime books that I read. They're a reminder of a more courteous, less rushed time. Flighty xx

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    1. I like the sound of your crime books Flighty, for exactly the reasons you state. I think that's why I like the Agatha Christie programmes on the television - everyone is so polite and the language is old-fashioned. It fits with my hankering for a simpler, slower life!

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  5. What a lovely idea, that book shop. My mind has gone blank on old fashioned phrases, though I know I keep popping up with them when I have been gardening because it reminds me of my Grandad, who used so many. Hot buttered toast is a perfectly lovely phrase and is a clear indication that leaving toast to cool on a toast rack before spreading and eating is clearly WRONG! Which doesn't stop TNG from doing it. I, on the other hand, get very grumpy if someone disturbs me before I can eat my toast when still hot enough to melt the butter...

    I do love the fact that, all over the country, people are getting out seed boxes, sorting through them, and placing orders. I sorted my own box yesterday. I didn't know you could start broccoli off so early, will have to give that a go - calabrese or sprouting? I was surprised to hear you have been unhappy with sweet peas grown in loo rolls, mine have always been fine, though I do have to remember to fill them right to the top with compost so that they will easily get hidden on planting.

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    1. My problem with the loo roll inners, Janet, is that I have to squish everything up so tightly to fit it all on my balcony that they usually succumb to horrid black mould around the cardboard. I'm interested to try root trainers to see if they make a significant difference, but loo roll inners are a great alternative for new-start gardeners or people who don't want to store garden paraphernalia throughout the rest of the year.

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  6. Lovely cosy post - like seeing somebody else appreciating the simple joys of "hot buttered toast" and ordering seeds! New to your blog and really enjoying it.

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    1. Hi Andrea, I'm glad to stayed to leave a comment as I've been able to find your blog. I love discovered new writers on the blog scene and will be popping back regularly to yours. Nice to meet you!

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Comments on my posts are much appreciated and help to build an online community of blog friends. Everyone is welcome! I love to discover new blogs so please leave a comment to introduce yourself.
Caro x

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