Tales From Behind The Potting Shed Or If At First You Don’t Succeed, Put It On The Compost Heap

Photo copyright Brenda Diskin

 I can’t even grow weeds, no! it’s true, believe me I have tried.

Gardening has never been my strong point, so if I say it comes in fits and starts you may understand where I am coming from. I am not so much green fingered as ham fisted.

Whilst trying to get the garden in some kind of order, wanting to make it look more like a place of tranquility rather than a wood yard, I decided it may be time to plant a few flowers.

I love herbs and thought that the small area I set aside for plants might make a good herb garden. Then I remembered the last herb garden and the demise of the plants that lived within.

I planted Basil, Tarragon, Mint, Rosemary, Chives, Sage, Parsley, Oregano and more. Strong healthy plants they were, when they went in. The Basil was the first to go, almost overnight in fact. Huge chunks chewed from the leaves by what appeared to be large jaws (compared with the size of the leaves) until all that was left were a few stalks.I must admit whatever it was didn’t seem too keen on the Parsley, which turned brown and shriveled up. One by one, the plants met their fate, even the Mint didn’t escape.

One of the culprits was a massive slug, he had to be at least six inches long, in fact he was so big I nicknamed him ‘Tremors’.

I was gifted a potted peyote cactus (a source of the hallucegenic drug mescaline) which seemed to be thriving but wasn’t growing very fast. I thought it may benefit from a little bit of sun so I placed it on the wall in direct sunlight. It seemed to be benefitting from its dose of vitamin D so I left it there overnight. The next morning there were massive chunks chewed out of it and there sidling along the path, tentacles proudly displaying a V for victory was a huge, extremely chilled out snail. I watched, half expecting it to turn to me and say “Peace man.”

When I awoke one sunny morning, I was greeted by one upright sprig of Rosemary and a wilted stem of Sage.  I looked at the sickly specimens struggling to survive and my first thought was to uproot them and carry their poor ailing bodies to the bin. Then I felt a pang of guilt and I confess I talked to them. Not just talked, but asked them questions about where they would like to be.
The Sage seemed to convey that she liked the company of other plants, but perhaps not ones that attracted so many herbivores. I decided to leave her where she was; and the next day she was joined by a Lavender plant.
The Rosemary on the other hand, was meant to be a big strapping lad and appeared to like his own company. He was given pride of place in the small triangular section between the conservatory door and the garden gate.

You may pleased to know that all these plants survived and have become quite bushy.
©Brenda Diskin 2013


  1. Well this years effort at growing has been very mixed. My partner Mick has paved and decked the whole garden so everything is in pots and troughs. So much tidier and more dog friendly.
    Plants that I thought were long dead have flourished. Something reduced my Gooseberry bush to bare stalks dotted about with several small unripe fruits. I have had an abundance of tomatoes, so many that we don't know what to do with them. my Chrysanths and Dahlias are up and down like yoyos. The beautiful Pansies my friend bought me and my Fushias have made a miraculous recovery after being dug up several times by the dogs. I have cultivated a healthy climbing plant, which I now think might be a weed and I managed to kill "Audrey2" a lovely little Venus Fly Trap. I don't know if this is success or not as I have battled to keep the plants moist. I have battled (and lost) against weeds. I have stroked, coaxed, sang to and pleaded with plants, flowers, and fruit bushes. I think I may have achieved around a 50 percent result this year. Let's see what the winter brings.


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