Gardening Journal – Entry 13

Monday 2 November 2020

And just like that, it’s November, and another month has flown by in this simultaneously sloth-paced and urgently fast year. A second lockdown is looming and we only have two more days of freedom before we lose the pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops again. Nothing much has changed for me this year, as we have worked throughout all lockdowns and the pandemic in its entirety. We didn’t even take a day while the dangers and health risks were assessed – we were far too busy mowing those lawns and pruning the wisteria and supposedly keeping London on its feet. It feels so good and so bad to be ‘essential’.

So, back to work I went this morning. Unfortunately, just as the country lost its faith in the government (can you lose something that has already been missing for years?), the frame of my glasses lost the will to stay attached and snapped in half. It’s an upsetting moment for any 20-something on a meagre apprentice salary and with only two contact lenses to their name, but considering I was speeding along on a narrowboat at the time, it was far from ideal. Luckily, I was video calling my mum so I didn’t feel like a complete plonker as I held my glasses to my face and smashed into some bloke’s boat while I rummaged around for my last pair of contact lenses.

Thank goodness, my workplace provided prescription safety goggles to me and Laurence early on in our apprenticeship, so I’ve been walking around London looking like I’ve just swum the channel. London Fashion Week will emit a sigh of relief when they hear that an emergency box of contact lenses are arriving at work tomorrow and new glasses are currently being whittled, so I will no longer be terrorising the streets in my utility specs.

After spending the early morning at work organising my optometry needs, me and my supervisor planted the bulbs in between the winter bedding we planted a couple of weeks ago. It was my first time planting bulbs in a bedding scheme and I’m glad I had already planted about 150 in containers in preparation. My containers took about an hour to plant and really took the energy out of me. You can imagine how intimidates I was when I found out we would be planting 1500 bulbs between the two of us in a raised bed full of delicate violas and forget-me-nots.

Once I had figured out my trowel technique stab the ground twice, trowel up, lift and slot the bulb pointed end up into the slit at the bottom), it became slightly faster work. The important thing to remember with bulbs is the planting depth. The rule of thumb is to plant them at a depth of three times their height. For tulips, this is around 10 – 15cm. Today we planted Tulipa ‘Spring Green’, which is new to me and I’m very excited to see come spring.

All in all, it was an energetic start to the week and made me feel quite accomplished, while distracting me from the next four weeks of abnormal normality. Gardening is very good at doing that.

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