If there were a school report on my gardening, it might read:

“B-plus. Stuart is easily enthused and throws himself into new projects. At times his enthusiasm outstrips his abilities.”

The mountain hideaway is set on a decent-sized chunk of land. My Mum worked hard on the garden, nurturing fruit trees and colourful flowers. As time went on, she guided the garden towards low maintenance, laying a weed suppressant and gravel around the trees.

Once a week, Mick, mechanic, pool-man, and gardener, comes, gives the pool a proper clean and wrestles the trees and shrubs. A Sisyphean task leaving no room for development of the garden.

This week, I decided to throw myself into gardening as exercise, stress-relief and an aesthetic endeavour. I’m aiming for Mrs L to be delighted by flowers when we can get her up and about and onto the balcony.


Fortune favours the brave, so I strode into the local flower shop / nursery and whimpered,

“Help me, please.” I even gave my best puppy-dog eyes. Fifteen minutes later I was loading bedding soil and plants into the back of the car.

I suspect I may not be the first with limited gardening ability, to throw myself on the mercy of the florist. We’re starting with flowers in pots and herbs in a built-in bed on the terrace.

Petunias (Petuniae?) love a bit of sun, and don’t mind doing without water for a bit, apparently. That’s a gentle way of saying that I really have to neglect them to kill them. Likewise, a busy-lizzy is a tough character, prepared to put up with some abuse too.


I love where we are situated. Unfortunately, mosquitos love it too. the only thing that the location lacked, from a mozzy point of view, was a plentiful supply of sweet blood. Then I moved in. They’re hardy wee souls, and rapidly adapt to whatever means we employ to deter, or indeed eliminate them. They are not great fans of strong smells, so planting some herbs is a double win, discouraging them, and adding a nice flavour to my cooking on the BBQ.

So – meet my herb garden. Basil, Mint, Rosemary, Sage, Spearmint and Thyme. I planted them in alphabetical order, because…well, I’m like that. I envisage having to marshall these, as from memory, herbs are the megalomaniacs of the plant world and will attempt to eliminate each other, and take over the entire bed. Perhaps I shall propagate some to separate pots, if I detect a degree of success in my war with the mozzies.

I have more pots – so assuming that these first experiments survive, there will be more flora to come. Maybe, I’ll even try my hand at some vegetable gardening.