Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With a lot of experimentation, pot luck, and sow and hope. And it’s not Mary who’s contrary but some of the stuff in the garden. Take my courgettes for example. The online solution: ‘You may be over-watering or under-watering’. But which? I don’t know. And now it’s raining, so will my courgettes thrive or die with the precipitation from the gloomy heavens? Well, I’m not going out to get wet, so the talking-to I might have given said veg will have to wait. Or are they fruit? Hmm. They contain seeds – like cucumbers, tomatoes and raspberries. My raspberries this year have behaved in exemplary fashion, yielding masses of fruit for the freezer (those that haven’t been popped in the mouth straight from the bush or via an ice cream sundae.)

As long as you’re laid back about potential success or failure and treat the whole gardening thing as an adventure, it can be good fun. So that’s fine. Courgettes – thumbs down. Raspberries – thumbs up. Thumbs. And fingers. Green fingers – green as in inexperienced, or green as in expert. I’ll be a hands-on gardener in my sometimes garden of sorrows, sometimes garden of hope.

The Bible’s garden of sorrows was where Jesus prayed before his death. And there was a garden of hope from which he emerged alive. Book-ended in the Bible are the Garden of Eden pre-Fall, and the Paradise garden of heaven. What places! Imagine the most perfect garden you can, then magnify it! Meanwhile each of us has a little bit of planet earth to tend – whether allotment, back yard or kitchen window sill. And guess what? It’s stopped raining. Time to inspect those contrary courgettes…


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