Small and delicate or big and blowsy?

That’s a difficult choice for a gardener. Naturally you want your visitors to gasp with admiration but unfortunately they do that in front of the huge blooms of Hibiscus. I still can’t fathom why I bought it in the first place? A moment of madness I suppose. Every year I decide to get rid of it but I’m against destroying healthy plants, and it is , it is! I remember being so excited when the man in charge of my condo asked if he could come and take pictures of my garden and how bitterly disappointed I was when he went straight over to the oversized pink hibiscus. On the other hand I realise I can’t get everyone down on their knees crawling about under the 3 big Osmanthus trees searching for my epidemiums and once they’ve found them needing a magnifying glass to pick out the details of the tiny flowers! These are my latest love. I’m totally in love with these little plants whose flowers appear overnight and which are quite difficult to research. The only book I have found so far is in French as is my book on fougères (ferns). I have to give the French their due, they’re very refined plantsmen and women. And getting back to visitors people don’t always understand that my beloved hakonechloa don’t have flowers that you might notice. I was reading the other day that we gardeners don’t really enjoy garden visitors especially when they don’t appreciate our efforts, but what is even worse is when they try to give their piecemeal advice. I can never understand collaborative gardening, getting together in the potting shed to make decisions over a cuppa? Heaven forbid! So now you know, if you come to see my garden, you must first practise a range of “oooh”s and “aaah”s then I think I’ll let you in and tell you the boring story of this one, that one and the other one ,because as you know any self-respecting garden has plants grown from cuttings her mum gave her, bulbs her friend wanted to throw away, precious cargo brought home from the Chelsea Flower Show……forewarned is forearmed!…

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-16 at 08.26.20 (1)

Gardening, My Diary


Well, the first time I went out to inspect my garden this morning I found to my irritation, no, much more than irritation actually, I was angry and disgusted because I found the kitchen waste buried deeply after much heavy spade work huffing and puffing yesterday, had been unearthed! I bury the kitchen scraps in the garden because in these times of the “plague”, I don’t want my daughter who comes once a week to fill my fridge for me, to have to take my disgusting smelly bags of kitchen scraps down to the bin. Apart from that, if you bury them, after a time they will have turned into wonderful rich friable COMPOST. I remember when the kids were young and we had no baby -sitter my husband said to me, “let’s go out tonight”! Great,so where are we going, thinking of a nice restaurant or maybe a grown -up film, I was so fed up with cartoons for the kids, in those pre-Netflix days! Where did he take me? What was the special treat? The first of a series of lessons on composting!

Marital bliss in a nutshell! We went and I was flabbergasted to find it extremely interesting so we started doing it ourselves, and I still do. Not in the maniacal way of watering, covering up to keep warm, turning over regularly, following a recipe and testing with a thermometer, but a much simpler way with just a sprinkle of accelerator every now and then! But where was I? ah yes, the destruction wreaked by mice. BUT……..the next time I went into the garden I looked round the corner and found to my surprise and joy, that the “pest” was Mrs. Blackbird, rooting around in search of worms I presume, so of course this is wonderful news because there are no rats and because one of my goals for the garden is, first to have something flowering every day of the year (done) and second to attract as much wild life as I possibly can!


Approaching Heaven

No no, I don’t mean I’m moribund, I simply mean that today I’ve decided not to read any news, not to read any social networks, switch off the anxiety promoters, the fake news pundits…….and go outside. I struggled to undress my heavy teak armchair fom its winter storage and dragged it into a sunny spot in my garden. Beside me the happy smell of winter pansies flowering like mad in this wonderful Spring, behind me but present due to the strong familiar scent, my pale cream hyacinths together with some late daffodils and in front of me my overgrown-but-who-cares pergola where I glimpsed the very first rose. Tiny lemon yellow not fragrant but oh-so-welcome.

Remembering J.Alfred Prufrock “I grow old, I grow old I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled” (you see you can’t really live without poetry can you?) So I diligently rolled my trousers up to my knees, put on a sleeveless t-shirt, my Burmese straw hat and, Bob’s your uncle, ready to relax in the sun. But really relaxed you know, when your breathing slows down, your eyes are sharper to see the bees, the insects and your ears hear nature. What a lot of birdsong in my garden! So my wish for you all today is simply this, chuck out all your shit and start making worthwhile memories for yourself. There is still in spite of everything so much to love, to be grateful for. You’re still going to die, hopefully as late as possible and at a ripe old age instead of because of this pestilential CV, but the only solution to that problem is never to have been born. So, choose living in full every day listening looking smelling breathing and the only decluttering or spring cleaning you really need to do is to ditch the trash in your mind and leave room for the real stuff.