Thursday, May 09, 2013

Coping with the comfrey

Springtime at Dixon Towers, and the unexpected bank holiday heatwave is over.

The barbecue has been put back under its cover, pending a warmer and drier day. Some time in mid-September, most probably.

Slugs and snails do a war-dance up the garden path. Slowly, slimily, hungrily.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, leaving unwanted bits of tree scattered all over the lawn.

But whatever nature may throw at us, the growing season has started, as witness the four propagators steaming away in the conservatory, pumping warmth into the roots of tender seedlings and causing no little strain on the National Grid.

It is breakfast time, and Mrs D looks up from the pages of her gardening magazine.

Yes, here at Dixon Towers we do indeed read at breakfast. At every other meal the conversation positively scintillates.

(“Have a good day, dear?”


But at breakfast, silence is golden. Until now.

Comfrey!” says Mrs D.

Comfrey? Comfrey? And what, pray, is that supposed to mean? You might as well say “Gerund!”, or “Cassock!”, or “Architrave!”, and expect your dopey husband to make sense of it.

“There’s lots of it growing at the bottom of the garden,” she goes on, clearly confusing said husband with someone who knows what comfrey looks like. Truth, though, will out.

It appears that this particularly stylish gardening magazine is touting the benefits of a particularly stylish plant food maker.

You pack the stylish infusion chamber with comfrey (nettles will do, if they haven’t already been made into soup). You fill the stylish outer infuser bucket, crafted of the finest stainless steel, with water. You plunge the chamber into the infuser and leave to stand. And just a couple of weeks later, you’ve got eight litres of plant food.

Mrs D is dismissive. You can do it just as well with an ordinary plastic bucket, she says, and the whole process is pretty smelly too.

She turns the page, to feast her eyes on leather-lined wellington boots. At £199 the pair. With a full-length gusset...

Mmm... Gusset...

Spring has most definitely sprung.

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