No not the children (although they have their moments). We arrived back from a lovely weekend listening to kids’ authors talk about their books at the Hay Festival to find the broad beans covered in black aphids.
I set to work like a woman possessed and washed them all off with soapy water then pinched out the growing tips. A week later the beans are still looking a little bit sorry for themselves but they are (for the time being) pest free.
The next pest I had to deal with is actually a weed; bindweed to be precise, one of the pestiest weeds of all. A few weeks ago I set about turning a bare corner of our front garden into a cutting patch. I planted a Gertrude Jekyll rose and some sweet pea seedlings supported by hazel pea sticks kindly given to us by our nextdoor neighbours. Then to my shame I sort of forgot about it, other than to water and feed the rose occasionally. Soon the peasticks were sporting a healthy crop of bindweed and the sweet peas were invisible. At the weekend I finally snatched a few hours alone in the garden after a busy week spent entertaining my own Little Weeds and went into battle with the bindweed, a job made all the more difficult because I was trying to get it out without inflicting further damage on my poor sweet peas. I have got the worst of it out, watered, fed and tied up the beleaguered seedlings and now am keeping my fingers crossed for some blooms.
On the last day of the holidays there was homework to be done. My oldest Little Weed who normally prefers to hang out indoors spontaneously took herself to the bottom of the garden to write her name in Mayan letters using macaroni and spray paint and her siblings followed. Looks like my sneaky plan to coax them into the garden more is working out.