What did you learn from your Grandad?


What do you remember from being a 5 year old child? In my case it’s mostly about gardening with my grandad, a Cornish miner who migrated to Cumbria where I was born. He had an allotment garden, about 400 yards from his house in Haverigg where he mostly grew vegetables, especially onions, as did most folks in the 1940s and 1950s. But he also grew two species of flower, dahlias and zinnias, neither of which I had much interest in. Grandad’s BIG onions were an utter fascination, flowers didn’t interest me at all.

From the time we bought our first house in 1974 I’ve grown vegetables, onions(!), potatoes, parsnips, swedes, cabbage, sprouts, carrots, leeks, lettuce, radish, and, in a greenhouse …. tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and chillies. Until this year …. I decided to grow some flowers from seed as well, and to fill borders and pots with zinnia, gazinia, and …. mesembryanthemum.

Today, the sun came out and as I sat in the garden cogitating the most amazing display of these tiny succulent plants burst forth:

Only one thing to do, enjoy with a celebratory glass of Burgundy, a Premier Cru Santenay bought from that village in France 2 years ago that has now almost doubled in value. Cheers!


2 thoughts on “What did you learn from your Grandad?

  1. The flowers that smile when the sun comes out. My dad always insisted on calling them mesanthyambriums. We still don’t know whether he did it on purpose or genuinely couldn’t remember. It’s a cop out when garden centres call them Livingstone Daisies.

    Liked by 1 person

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