Monday, March 01, 2010

Wallflowers


Around about 5.45 pm on Saturday my neighbours were treated to a loud scream of anguish which echoed around the gardens surrounding the apartment blocks in our complex. And with so many blocks piled one upon the other, believe me - screams echo well.

I love wallflowers. I've got some coming on at the moment which should soon be in flower. But there are only fifteen or so of them. For next year I'm hoping for a more spectacular display.


Last summer I sowed some wallflower seeds far too late in the season for them to be big enough to flower this year. But they're hardy and they got through the winter with no problems. They'll grow all this year and be fine for next spring - just call them triennials. But as they seemed to be coming back into growth, I thought it was about time I took them out of the seed trays and potted them on.

Now here I have to confess. You know what they say about thinning out seedlings? Forget it. I can't kill anything. If it straggles up, as far as I'm concerned it gets a chance. As long as I don't inadvertently snap its roots off when I'm separating the seedlings out, into a pot of its own it goes.

I'd planted two rows in the seed tray - and ended up with seventy seedlings. And for an hour or so on Saturday afternoon I stood there happily teasing out the roots and replanting one by one in plug pots. By the time I finished it was getting dark, so I thought I'd better clear up and go in. And that's when it happened.


Now, there are those people who have high visual-spatial intelligence and then there are those of us who are somewhat challenged in that department. To put it mildly we're congenitally clumsy - though I'm sure that's no longer the politically correct expression. We're the ones who are always covered in burns because when we take things out of the oven, we misjudge the distance and brush our arms against the hot racks. We're the ones who need enough space for six articulated lorries in order to park a mini and who eventually give up driving because it's clear that sooner or later we'll kill someone. We're the ones who get beaten by six-year olds when playing Tetris. And we're the ones who drop things, spill things, break things ... You get the general idea.

So there I was with my seventy seedlings all neatly potted up. All I had to do was transfer them from the work space to the trays where they'd stay for a while. Now where had I put the trays? I turned around to look, caught the containers with my elbow, and in a split second swept the lot onto the floor.


In restrospect the neighbours were lucky that I only screamed. They could well have been treated with somewhat more graphic utterance, which probably wouldn't have reflected the English they learnt at school ...

So, in the rapidly deepening twilight, there I was scooping up seventy seedlings and the related potting compost, and starting all over again. Luckily there's a small light on the back balcony so even when it got really dark, I was at least able to see vaguely what I was doing.

I got them all back in except six which had snapped during the fall. So I now have sixty-four wallflowers all ready for flowering next year. OK, exaggerated on a small balcony. But so what? I said I love them, and I can always give them away. Anyone want to come and collect a couple of wallflower seedlings?



12 comments:

easygardener said...

Oh dear - I do sympathise. It is exasperating when that happens. I've done it with a tray of seeds and scooped the whole lot back in - hoping that some will still grow. I screamed too!

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Well, I definitely fall into the 'clumsy' category, though I don't always like to admit it. I'm glad you only lost 6 seedlings. It could have been much worse. I can't wait to see them in full bloom!

JWLW said...

HI Sue: No do not want a wallflower seedling. Just wanted to tell you that the other afternoon I heard a strange noise over the noise of the generator's running in the neighborhood. Latest storm wiped us out for 3 days. I wondered what the noise was and now I know it was Sue screaming over the split flowers.

Have a Wonderful day,
John

Janet said...

I understand the screams now. I can't imagine tipping all of that over! So glad you were able to salvage almost all of them.

Jan said...

Oh how exasperating, but I'm glad you managed to get them (nearly) all replanted!

Lancashire rose said...

You made me smile. I was collecting seeds from Nigella last year when I caught the plastic container and it shot out of my hand spilling every one. That isn't eh only clumsy thing I have done believe you me. Too many to mention. All those seedlings- I can relate to that and to what happened. I look forward to seeing the results of your seedling saving mission.

Melanie said...

Oh no! I would have screamed too. I look forward to seeing them flower, I sure the remaining seedlings will make an amazing display.

Helen at summerhouse said...

How annoying and worthy of a scream! But I have yet to start my seeds so you are still way ahead. The problem will be finding room for all those seedlings I suppose. Where ever do you keep them all?

Carrie said...

Sounds to me like you handled that all very well. I would probably have said the unthinkable and then ungone wailing like a banshee until I fell asleep in a corner, knocking with 'my babies'.

Beth said...

Sue, I love how your sense of humor shines through such a frustrating moment. I have been there before too, and it's almost as if the event happens in slow motion!

Glad you were able to save them. If your neighbors knew what you screamed about, surely they'll understand! Perhaps, give them a seedling if you find yourself overloaded :)
-Beth

Rowena... said...

I have always been the same way when it comes to seedlings, keeping every single one! This year may or may not see a repeat performance. It depends on how much potting soil my husband agrees to buy!

Eliza said...

I sure hear you on misjudging the distance to the oven elements! It's two bad about your wallflower casualties but I'm glad you got to save most of them. Natural selection through clumsiness... maybe the remainders will be stronger for it.

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