I blame Heidi. If she wasn’t so prissy about having finely-tilled soil to leave her princess poo without damaging her delicate little bottom, none of this would have happened.
I don’t have a problem with our cats carrying out their ablutions in our garden, it’s only fair, really, our cats, our collective poo. It does make gardening a journey of discovery, but I always wear gloves, and carry a peg to put on my nose. It’s well-known in our house that Socks Akers has a very smelly bottom.
The idea was to plant a selection of sunflowers to fill the flowerbed just under the conservatory. They are very easy to grow, remind me I said that.
So I prepared the bed and, with Heidi on the look-out for soft soil to do the deed, made sure that the area was cordoned off. Netting weighted down with stones should do the trick. Remind me I said that.
No sooner had I filed the seed packet under ‘s’ for sown, than Heidi crawled under the netting, her over-long whiskers poking through the mesh, and jellybean paws stirring up the soil ready for the deed. I shouted, she shrugged her shoulders with that sense of entitlement all felines possess. ‘What?’ she asked. What indeed. She’d re-distributed all the seeds as well as doing the unmentionable.
Fortunately, I’d still half a packet of seeds left, so in they went, covered with a cat-proof netting contraption that would have made Prof Pat Pending proud. It worked, there was no cat action and the seedlings quickly started to appear.
I love sunflowers, they’re big, bright and cheerful, the birds adore their seeds and unfortunately the slugs think the leaves are there just for their slimy benefit, they’ve clearly heard about the forthcoming ban on slug pellets containing metaldehyde. And did I mention they are very easy to grow?
I was surprised how vigorous they were, but our soil is very fertile. Strange, though, the leaves were bumpy, not like sunflowers at all, but they were where I’d planted them and they were a different variety, presumably the bumpy-leaved variety. And so prolific, there were so many I transplanted them around the garden, put them in the pots at the front of the house, gave a few to friends, set up a stall to give them away to passers-by. Wow, I thought, Calverley is going to be glowing yellow. We’ll be known as the Village of the Sunflowers, people will come from as far away as Pudsey. I may get an award.
But as they grew, they changed. Overnight they stopped looking like sunflowers and started looking suspiciously like borage. First I thought it was a miracle and revised my expectations of an award to a damehood, possibly a fellowship of the Royal Horticultural Society for this botanical alchemy of changing sunflowers into borage with the help of cat poo.
Then I wondered if the seeds were wrongly labelled, it’s happened before, I had yellow tomatoes when the packet said red, but this was a significant difference. Yes, I’d had borage there a few years ago, but surely so many seeds couldn’t germinate and not one single sunflower grow? Was it Heidi? It was a mystery and will certainly change the village glow from yellow to blue. And the bees will be very happy.
Next year I’m planting borage seeds, getting Heidi to poo on them and waiting for them to turn into sunflowers. Step forward Dame Anne.