It’s not easy being green

SOME people have green fingers. Mine aren't green. But neither are they brown from fiddling around in soil laced with fowl droppings and moopoo.

From this you might gather that I'm no gardener. I have no intention of playing nursemaid to a bed full of unappreciative plants that despite my food, drink and hard labour are going to turn up their little roots anyway. It's easier to buy a bunch of flowers that someone has worn the knees out of his pants looking after.

I've heard gardeners skiting about the vegetables they've grown - enough to feed a regiment.

When they aren't wearing their green fingers to the bone looking after the vegies, they're racing around trying to find someone to give them to. That's a job in itself - when vegetables are growing in their garden, they're growing in everyone else's.

Gardeners go to any lengths to grow bigger and better. One bloke I know regularly intones: "Oh Lord, grant that it may rain every day, say from about midnight until three in the morning. But see that it is gentle and soaks in." He adds a rider: "Grant, O Lord, that at the same time it will not rain on campion, alyssum, helianthemum and others which you in your infinite wisdom know are drought-loving plants. I will write their names on a piece of paper if you like."

I lost any enthusiasm for gardening after my run-in with dynamic lifter. A dynamic lifter, I'd thought, was someone handy with weights in the gymnasium. But then I was also wrong about horticulture having something to do with houses of ill fame.

My mate, whose fingers are so green they're celebrated in Irish pubs, said dynamic lifter was fertilizer and would make grass grow in the bare desert that was my new backyard.

He spread the foul-smelling stuff everywhere and gave it a hosing. Next day when I went to see how high the grass had grown overnight, the whole backyard was strewn with little brown dead caterpillars.

I raked up barrow loads of them while he watched. Only when I'd finished the job did he tell me they weren't dead caterpillars but lengths of fertilizer the water had expanded.

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