Wednesday 15 September 2004

how does your garden grow?

I can't grow anything. Don't get rude about it, I'm talking about plants. I can't grow them in this country. I make this distinction because I was able to keep any plant alive in Montreal; I had plants for over ten years that were still going strong when I gave them to a friend before I moved here. Every time I try to grow something here, it up and dies on me or develops some sort of fuzzy growth or insect infestation. I'm not even trying to grow anything difficult, I'm talking about things like mint and rosemary. Who can't grow mint? That stuff grows like a weed and will take over your house and garden in a month. It'll grow into your neighbour's yard, taunt the paperboy, and push its way through asphalt driveways. My mint, on the other hand, got to the seedling stage and then curled up and died. After three attempts and several hundred seedlings later, it finally took - but it's got some weird spots on it and I'm too afraid to eat it. Jack and Heather brought me some rosemary from their garden that quickly met its untimely death on my windowsill. In Jack and Heather's garden, it grew merrily alongside several other herbs. I bought a Japanese maple with a label promising me that it would thrive in full sun or shade. It sat by our front door for a couple of months before all the leaves curled up in terror and the branches shrivelled up in dismay. I got another one and put it in the shade in our back garden and once again, its leaves have curled and frayed. The only plants that haven't died are the ones that were already in the garden when we moved here. The conclusion is obvious - Canadians do not have green thumbs in the UK.

On a totally unrelated note, a very happy New Year to my Jewish friends! Having worked at a Kosher restaurant at university in Toronto (I always thought "kosher" meant "deli" as the only context I had ever seen the word was in reference to deli foods like pickles) and having lived in the bagel capitol of Canada for 11 years, I feel a strong kinship with my Jewish mates. So to you, my friends, have a wonderful holiday. And feel free to bring me any leftover cheesecake.

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