Garden Journal - February 28th 2005

Wildchicken Garden Journal - Miranda Hodgson

 

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Feb 28th 2005... March 3rd - Revision and review

This is late as Ive been a rather frantic with revision. As the exam is so close, this entry will be brief.

Less than a week to go now and we had the last formal lesson yesterday. There is one more class scheduled for after the exam, for some reason, and the idea is for us all to drive up to the RHS gardens at Harlow Carr and have a day out.

 

I hope the weather is better than the previous day out we had. That was the last lesson before we broke up for the summer holidays, when the plan was to have a picnic in the gardens of Burton Agnes Hall. What actually happened was that it rained torrentially for the entire day and we sloshed about the sodden gardens for only a couple of hours before taking shelter in the caf.

"...we sloshed about the sodden gardens for only a couple of hours."

 

Karl has been very helpful to me this last week or so and has been giving me 30 minute after-dinner quizzes on the areas where Id been having trouble remembering things, mainly plant processes. He sits with my notes and a list of questions and gets me to define, describe and explain until I get it right. The information is being dragged to the front of my mind where its needed. I had been feeling quite concerned about plant processes until he started these quizzes.

 

Gail helped tremendously by doing an exercise with us which resulted in a huge amount of information suddenly falling into place and becoming far easier to remember.

 

She handed out papers with a long list of typical gardening queries and asked us to name and describe the plant processes we thought were involved and to then explain was actually happening to the plants in question and what should be done about it.

"...The process involved is secondary dormancy."

So, for example, one question asked why universal pansy seeds germinate successfully in spring but poorly in autumn. The process involved is secondary dormancy if the temperature is too high some types of seed simply switch off until it cools down.

"...and I now feel a lot more hopeful about the exam. "

Another question asked why a Poinsettia had failed to flower in its second year. The process this time was photoperiodism, meaning that the plant had not received the necessary long dark nights needed to initiate flowering. Seeing the practical side to what had previously been theory has made an enormous difference and I now feel a lot more hopeful about the exam.

 

I shall miss this course very much and feel quite sad about it ending. There has been so much that is useful to learn, but I will especially miss Gails teaching. For nearly two years she has cheerfully and patiently answered all our questions, however silly we might have thought them to be; shes encouraged us to think and do, to find our own solutions. Its been so stimulating, so wonderfully fascinating, that I feel as if my brain has changed shape.

 

Part of me wants to go back and do it all again, just to re-experience the thrill of the natural world about me coming into sharper focus, the building of a clearer picture of the whole, and finding out a little about all the delightful complexities that exist unseen around us.

 

"...and Id like to finish with a quote from the late Dorothy Parker, queen of satire."

Spring is almost with us and Id like to finish with a quote from the late Dorothy Parker, queen of satire. Of this season she wrote: "Every year, back comes Spring, with nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants."

 

Oh well, back to the books. Onwards and upwards!

Copyright Miranda Hodgson 2005

 

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