those to grow here," the "expert" gardener tells me.
She is looking at the two tulips I was given earlier in the week. The person who gave them to me is not an "expert" gardener but her advice, gleaned from the company which grows them, was that they will flower again next year - if I follow the instructions.
I can follow instructions for things like gardening. I do not know nearly enough about gardening. The Senior Cat knows a great deal more than I do. If there are no instructions I tend to do what "feels right" and leave it at that. The results are usually pretty reasonable.
But the "expert" does not take that approach. She "knows". For years she was the secretary and then the president and then the secretary again of a garden club. Oh she knows so much, "not everything but I do know most things".
She insisted on pruning our roses one year. My mother planted the roses. I would pull them out and even the Senior Cat has considered doing it. He leaves them there only because my mother planted them. They are a thorny and not particularly valuable addition to the garden. Only one of them is perfumed. We would prefer to have lavender. It attracts the bees and is, in this climate, a pretty hardy sort of plant. But, we have the roses.
The "expert" pruned them and we had almost no flowers at all. "That's because they have not been properly pruned before." Oh. I just chopped off the dead bits and took a bit more here and there - where it "felt right". It worked. We always had roses.
I know a couple who belong to the Rose Society and they have told me, more than once, "You really can't do much damage to a rose. Just go ahead and cut at the places you think look right."
I told the "expert" this and she was horrified. It was, she told me, the wrong approach completely. The way we garden horrifies her altogether. It is of no consequence that we eat carrots, peas, beans, spinach, pumpkin, onions, capsicum, courgettes, tomatoes, strawberries, apricots, plums, nectarines, peaches, grapefruit and more - all from our untidy, friendly garden. No, we do not garden properly.
The "expert" no longer has a garden. She lives in an inner-city apartment with just a few pots on her little balcony. I did not know her until she moved there. I never saw her garden but I often wonder what it was like.
Was it as productive and friendly as ours?