urnI don't 'do' frivolous. So how come, in the space of just one week, there has appeared in and around my home a lime green candelabra (it graces the writing desk), two Italian urns (balanced artistically, one each side of the path leading into the perennial boarder), and a rather gorgeous garden 'feature' (which I've hung behind the potted colour on the deck)?

I blame the weather – well perhaps not in the case of the candelabra, a photo of which I drooled over for several weeks after a freebie magazine surreptitiously made its way into our mailbox (I don't 'do' magazines either). But certainly the freezing cold temperatures, icy squalls, and torrential downpours of the non-existant spring would drive any keen gardener into a depression so deep that it could be lifted only by a fit of retail therapy. The problem in my case, however, was that having indulged in the candelabra; I couldn't afford any more of the retail bit.

As sleet-laden showers lashed against the windows, and even the basil growing on the window ledge gave up the ghost, I shivered in the glass house while I repot the root-bound courgette plants I knew wouldn't stand a chance in the Antarctic temperatures outdoors. Meanwhile, outside, all was carnage. Gales knocked gooseberries from their branches and flattened beans. The few annuals not shredded by the hail hung their heads forlornly, rhododendron blooms turned brown, and buttercup raged unchecked in the donkey paddock. Depressing? Absolutely! But then, I made a decision. If conditions were such that nothing would grow, I would tart up the garden with objects that did not require sunlight, warmth or shelter. Enter, the 'Italian urns'.

Do you know how much those things cost? You could feed a family of six for a week for the price of just one. And I needed two! Thank goodness for Kiwi ingenuity. I beat a hasty retreat from the garden centre and dashed to the big red shop for two much smaller half-price terracotta pots. At home, I sawed in half an old sleeper that had been lying under the house, and dug each section into the ground beside the garden path. The 'urns' went on top, secured with a couple of bolts screwed through holes which I'd drilled through the base. Into these planters (if the weather ever improves) I plan to grow trailing nasturtiums. In the worst case scenario (we miss summer as well as spring), a hardy flax or ornamental grass will suffice. In the meantime, the pots themselves look so pretty.

As for the hanging garden feature? It's just as effective, and took a fraction of the time to erect. It's an old mirror which I happened upon at the recycling centre. Hanging from the deck railing at the back of some potted pansies and arctotis, it immediately doubles the number of flowers I can see out the window, no matter how often it rains!

My no-gardening gardening has cheered me up significantly. I'm even at the stage where, if the sun does shine for a few seconds, I find myself commenting to anyone who'll listen, "Gosh, what a fabulous day!"

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