Both my parents and H's parents are very green-fingered; they have beautiful gardens that are a joy to spend time in, and reflect the time and effort put into them by each. Whilst I enjoy being in a lovely garden, H and I have wondered whether the bug skipped a generation with each of us.
We love the garden to look nice and happily spend hours stretched out on the lawn/miniature hockey pitch each summer, starfish-snoozing on a quilt with books, sketchpads, knitting and long cool iced drinks within easy reach.
What we lack is the incentive to get out there every weekend, keeping things up to the minute and monitoring each and every bloom. We have moments of intense hard work where we have a massive tidy up and everything looks wonderfully neat with all the bulbs planted, or all the annuals spilling out of the beds, and then we sit back and enjoy it until it gets too messy to contemplate and we have a giant tidy up. Perhaps the phrase is 'garden teenagers'!
I've long held a theory that everyone is creative in some way, they just have to find what that way is. A couple of colleagues claim not to be creative at all, yet they both have an enviable sense of fashion style, and one in particular has the interior design creativity that would give her an easy alternative career if she got bored of our daily grind.
The thing is, I think the same might be true of growing things; you just need to find what it is that you love to grow, and I'm increasingly convinced that I have my answer:
Bulbs. The gardening equivalent of a supper that you just pop in the oven and set the timer. In this particular case, an Amaryllis. Pure and simple.
I love pouring through the catalogue and choosing new colours to try (sadly lacking both the pots and the finances to go with my instinct of one of each); potting up the bulbs carefully just as everything outside is settling down to a winter hibernation; and watching as the first hint of green starts to appear from the papery edges.
First the leaves and then the flower bud, slowly at first and then sprinting to the sky, before busting forth in a triumphant declaration of celebration. I know what varieties I planted, but didn't bother with any sort of labelling so it's a complete surprise to see what each unfurls.
Last year I'd planted my Double Dragon in time for Christmas; this year we planted a little later and this, the first of three, is here to herald the New Year.
Spring may be hiding under a thick and downy duvet of snow (including the extra few inches that arrived today - yippee), but there's no stopping this candy striped parade of new life.
The variety is called Dancing Queen and came from Peter Nyssen bulbs (who also supplied the Double Dragon and Apple Blossom from last year).
I'm off to watch for blooms on the other two now - I swear you can almost see them growing.