With every passing year, my parents attain a new level of quirkiness in their gardening methods. It all started when they retired at the same time, whereupon they both took up this pursuit with gusto. That was five years ago and they haven’t looked back, taking every opportunity to try out the latest innovations in raised beds, build a double-story greenhouse or acquire an unusual chicken.
Before that, they’d always like to poke around in the roses and exclaim over the bees on the trailing rosemary plant, but now they’re borderline fanatical about the whole thing. Hey, it keeps them busy and limber, so I think it’s great. I’m not sure their neighbours care too much for the newly unveiled trellis composed of a rusted bed frame (evidently, it’s bringing down property values in the street), but that’s not my problem.
It’s fair to say that some of my parents’ solutions to common garden needs could seem a tad dotty if you didn’t know what you were looking at. That time they brought home 17 busted bicycles from the tip was a case in point, especially when they piled them all on the front lawn for two weeks straight. It really did make them look like hoarders. But then dad pulled them all apart and mum refashioned them into a chicken run, and the result is rather fetching, not to mention to mention a great example of recycling.
Their latest thing is planting spring bulbs into every spare bit of suitable ground, including on the nature strip, which they’ve fitted out with a bench to enable passers-by to take a seat and enjoy the spring display. They’re really on a daffodil bender at the moment, and have planted about five different types all over the shop so that they’ll have a staggered flowering times.
That’s not so out of the ordinary, right? Well, it wouldn’t be if they hadn’t started planting bulbs in old shoes they picked up from hard rubbish – turns out, more people than you’d think wind up with lone shoes they need to offload.