Turning my garden into an allotment: week 5 - motivation slips :-(

Week 5: getting a bit boring, all this digging and stuff.

It's week four already. Grey, dank February and I have a two month old cold that refuses to shift. My lawn and shrubs have been dispatched to the bin. What have I done!

Yup my garden is now a chaotic mess and I have no idea how it got to this stage. True it is all moving in a positive direction, but by heck the building site look is not a pretty one. That muddy path looks innocuous enough, yet I live on a hill. My garden perhaps has a twenty degree slope on it.

And this bamboo patch; what a bitch. The books and magazines are full of the joy of new beginnings. What they don't go into is the pain of clearing stuff. Fifteen year old bamboo? It's like trying to dig through a tree. The rest of the garden isn't much better, all broken up house bricks four centimetres under the grass.

On the positive, recognising that I was getting pissed off with it all, I went out and bought some fruit plants.

Actually I failed once at this simple task. I wanted four fruit bushes for the shady side of the garden. I like gooseberries, so why not? Well the why not is the five mile drive to the nearest garden centre where the grim discovery was made that these places charge the earth for produce. £10 per plant? That's £40 on some fruit I can buy from the supermarket for pennies. I like gooseberries, but not that much. So I walked off unfulfilled. It's so hard being a consumer sometimes.

Walking to collect my Boy Child from school I passed a Pound Stretcher store. Never, ever go into these shops. However this one had a window display of bloomin' fruit bushes. Exactly what I wanted, and at an eye watering price. £10 per plant at a knobby garden centre, or £8 for four? I went in.

Must say that garden centres are depressing places. Guess the basic fault of them being that they sell plants, garden furniture for old people, or Regatta outdoor clothing at a permanent 'discount' price. None of which I have any interest in. In a sense these places cater for old people who know the Latin names of plants and who think a fruit scone a treat. There's never any zip to them and I end up walking around as if half my brain has died. Often stopping at the cafĂ© gets the other half; my wife every now and then pausing to wipe dribble from my chin.

Garden centres are a curious thing. There are any number over at Woodmanstern for example. One in particular has somehow gotten to be as big as a small town. It must take a few million at the tills each week. You could do your weekly food shop there forever really. That in addition to buying plants, eating at the two cafes, clothes shopping, buying books, toys or furniture. It's massive. Yet it has several neighbours, all much, much smaller. I popped into one the other day, a garden centre that looked quite big from the outside, certainly equally promising. It's 200m away from the goliath. Yet inside it had a handful of plants surrounded by literally acres of nothing. Is it luck that makes a business grow? How can one, next door to three or four others, have an income perhaps twenty times as much as all of the others combined?

Still, the old sun stealing wood store has been moved to a better spot against a fence. I'm under strict instructions not to sell this one as my family think it has a certain rustic charm. When a 9 year old boy tells you not to do something, you listen. Especially when he's going for his second black belt. It's not finished yet, as I need to plant bits on it - going for sedums here and there.

Must admit that spending a bit on plants for once has improved my mood. It's nice to do a bit of work, clear and prep an area, then put something in. It's not much, but it's not digging, burning or fighting weeds is it?

Spend this week: £8.