Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Gardening confessions from a city-raised boy

I have an admission to make and it might seem like heresy to some.

Deep breath (from me).

I'm not very keen on gardening.

There. I've said it.

It's not that I dislike it particularly.

It's just that...well, I don't really get a kick from growing my own.

What's strange perhaps is that both my late parents were passionate amateurs and
the green(ish)-fingered genes seem to have been passed on to me.

Pots I can handle - as long as they're not houseplants.

That said, I haven't really figured out why I chose to stick a chili pepper in one just outside the kitchen door.

I don't particularly like chili peppers.

Stick it in a pot, water and wait for it to grow

Real soil and toil though?

It just seems like so much hard work.

When I moved my main residence from Paris to the rolling hills of southwestern France (thankfully still keeping a city pad), I "did" the seemingly must-have vegetable patch thing.

After all, didn't it "go with the territory?"

With great gusto I set about turning soil, weeding, planting, thinning (or whatever it's called) and watering only to discover...well, it just wasn't for me.

All that time and energy spent doing what I had been told I was supposed to be enjoying!

I wasn't.

Then of course there was what to do with that first season glut of tomatoes and courgettes.

I mean, even after bottling-up, pickling, making sauces and goodness knows what else, the whole exercise just seemed exactly that; something else I did because...once again I was meant to find it gratifying.

I didn't.

What's more, by the time all the vegetables were ready, the prices at the local market were at their lowest.

This year I handed over the cultivating of the potager to a couple who've been happily ensconced in doing exactly that.

They do the hard graft and I...well I can appreciate nature and the nuturing thereof safe in the knowledge that I don't have to get my hands dirty in the process.

Yes I admit, I'm just a spoilt city-raised boy who realised sooner rather than later that he didn't have to "plough the fields and scatter" (Oy vey! Where did that childhood memory come from?) to put food on his plate.

The best kind of potager - one in which someone else does all the hard work

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