‘Heigh ho! Heigh Ho! It’s off to Jean’s we go!’
Swampy the eco-warrior would not have looked out of place in this merry band of gardeners. Not a sandal in sight, we were suited and (Wellington) booted and ready to take on the challenge Stephen had put to us: "We have to clear Jean’s front garden before it rains!"
It had, rather worryingly, been raining early in the morning but the weather was perfectly fine once we arrived. I noted later, whilst taking the weeds around the back of the house, that it was raining in the back garden. However, as we had all hoped and prayed, it remained perfectly dry where we were working.
Stephen’s suggestion to grow a crop of potatoes in the front garden to keep the weeds at bay was politely declined by Jean. Instead our brief was to clear the garden being careful not to dig up the plants as well. After a short tutorial in recognising the difference between a plant and a weed, we set to work in the usual good-spirited intern fashion for the two hours it took to clear the garden.
Japanese Anemones (or anananomes as Phil so beautifully put it) were the order of the day with a root system second to none. We potted the some of the anemones once we had dug them up so that we could pass them on to others However, we were careful to give them away with the warning that they should be kept in the pot. If carefully contained these plants are very pretty. However, as Jean learnt, planting them in your garden will very quickly give you an Amazonian wilderness of pinky-purple flowers. A warning to all would-be gardeners.
For some, the real highlight of the morning was the ‘treasure’ Ben collected. He seemed quite sure we had found many ancient artefacts of significant historical value in the ground that we dug over. Sceptics amongst us thought that the collection of broken pottery, empty bottles and pieces of wood were nothing more than they appeared. However, Ben remained sure he had discovered a piece of Noah’s ark amongst other important archaeological finds. We are awaiting carbon dating tests… See Matt for the results.
Jean served us tea and biscuits as our work came to a close. She seemed touched by the surprise spate of gardening that morning. After promising to return again next time the Japanese anemones reared their heads, we walked up to Stephen’s house to enjoy bacon sandwiches and the usual laughter that characterises any intern project.
However, a few questions remain I suppose… Just how many interns does it take to clear a garden? There were after all only seven dwarfs… And who, in our group that day, would have been Snow White?