I have no talent for growing things.

Yup, that’s right, ladies and gents, it’s another ambition post. But this one comes with a twist.

I am really good at planting seeds.

Really. It’s a gift. Planting I can do. Keeping plants alive is where I fall down. It’s not that I lose interest. They either… die of thirst or they blasted well float away. I think the problem is this: they don’t drink alcohol. I’m pretty good when it comes to an emptying glass. But water – unless it’s a mixer, I’m at a bit of a loss.


And I’m great with houseplants. I used to have an umbrella plant called Meryl. I have no doubt in my mind that plants respond well to conversation. This is because I talked incessantly to Meryl from the age of fourteen to twenty-three. She was a hell of a therapist. The best, really. Being, as she was, attentive, non-judgemental, and remarkably cheap.


The only reason I stopped talking to Meryl was because one of my mother’s carers pruned her so severely, all her leaves fell off and her stem became woody and brittle. I cried for a week.

Now, why are plants on my mind? Well, I’m in charge of the plants at the village war memorial for the month of June. I think they gave me June because there’s very little chance I can drown the flowers when the roads are melting in the sunshine.

I have a greenhouse. Oh, yeah. I’ve got the stuff. Unfortunately, it’s next to the driveway, deep in the shade of a wildly-overgrown cherry tree and a bungalow. Currently, the greenhouse is home to some half-rotted shelves, empty tubs, and a choke-hold of ivy. The ivy is such that, if I tried to cut it back, would pull the whole thing down given that the ivy is, really and truly, part of the glasshouse’s structural integrity.

So, I’ve got step one down. I can plant things. And I like a plant I can talk to. Learning Latin names doesn’t bother me. A semi-dead language, in the face of a dying plant, seems a bit of a waste. What I need to do – and once I’ve posted this, I’ll have to do it – is read some of my gardening books and actually learn how to keep them alive.

I think the greenhouse can be replaced by a border for shade-loving things that don’t require too much attention. I am determined. If I can keep houseplants alive, I can manage a shrubbery.