Gardening, My Diary, Seasons, Uncategorized

A Little Bit of Unpretentious Heaven.

What do you generally do on a Saturday morning? The weekly wash? Make a shopping list? Do some housework? Obviously. So do I, albeit with a total lack of the right kind of enthusiasm. But this morning it was a gorgeous sunny day and I’m never one to look a gift horse in the mouth if you see what I mean! So I decided, all those other things can wait. I went out to sit ,no, not sit boldly and efficiently upright as I do for my online classes, it was more a very relaxed loll. I have a carefully placed armchair with an unlovely cushion, but the cat sits there too so I can’t use my smart cream ones, and decided that if I really need an excuse I could always say I’m getting my free ration of vitamin D. I wore a very old cashmere sweater which is threadbare but which I can’t bear to throw away it’s really comfy. The sun was so warm I really luxuriated in it. The cat briefly jumped onto my shoulder and butted me and purred while I drank a scandalous MORNING g & t! I sat so close to my beloved sarcococca that I was virtually inside it! It’s a dear little shrub, easy to grow, well-behaved, it propagates itself and has a gorgeous, pervasive perfume. It is also good for the bees who have been longing to get outside to stretch their wings and have some fresh food.

As you can see in the pics I still haven’t bought that elegant little inside-outside table I so badly want. Instead I used a planter because the bulbs haven’t started sprouting yet. I also used the wrong kind of glass because it has to balance on the chair arm and I’m a little careless when I’m reading. At the moment a particulary curious detective by an author I don’t know but it comes highly recommended by The Times. So, not the lap of luxury you’re thinking? And I think you’re wrong. Put those all together and you could really make your peace with the world, at least for an hour or two. Go outside and relax now!


Anteprima of Spring

Spring IS coming again this year, my garden told me so. We are having magnificent weather, bright and sunny, several drops in night-time temperatures but milder than last year. I have all this interesting information because I keep an R.H.S 5-year diary, fantastic invention. You can check what you’re likely to see , what’s early, what’s late what’s right on time. You can also hopefully correct a few of your last year’s mistakes!

I’ve also started combing through my “What happens each month, what to do each month”books. And I decided to put together a combination of the expert advice, the only problem with THAT brilliant idea is that I got a really long list of things”to do in January”.My idea had been to take out a book, sit in a sunny place near the Sarcococca (moved especially for this purpose) and just breathe in the inebriating perfume! Instead I find myself on my knees scratching about among the leaves which are supposed to suppress the weeds. It’s a gardener’s eternal mystery why weeds can get through ANY barrier you present them with.

I’ve also started growing seeds. I had great success last year with my Cosmos seeds, so I’m starting this new adventure. At the moment just Saxifrage and Parsley. I was shocked at the price of the saxifrage plants in the nurseries so I bought what I expected to be a root from my usual suppliers. It turned out to be ONE SEED. That’s right ,one single, wildly expensive seed. So now the lonely, minuscule, almost invisible thing is luxuriating in love and TLC.


What shall I be when I grow up?

Unrelentingly perky, Doris Day used to sing a song called “che sarĂ , sarĂ ”. I hated it because it’s not my kind of music and anyway I had this idea that what will be will be…..what I want it to be .Total exclusion of fate, good luck, destiny and so on!

Yet here we are, in Italy at least, asking eleven, twelve-year-old kids to map out the rest of their lives! At that tender age they’re asked what school they want to attend! Classics, scientific, arts? That’s right, let’s start slamming a few doors in their faces! We all know that adolescence is a time when our mind is sparking off in so many different directions, we are so full of life that today and tomorrow we hold ideas that may even be opposite to each other, we’re full of the joys of rebellion. So let’s put a straightjacket on them and if they don’t do well because we’ve put them in the wrong place, let’s call them failures, bocciati, ripetenti…..

What we need is a more flexible system, where choices can be made when they are older. Although I don’t go down the path as far as Ilych (who theorised vouchers, spendable with whatever teacher, whatever subject was available) I still think school should start off serving horsd’oevres so the kids can get a better taste of what the main meal of learning really is.

I’m an English teacher, a fabulous job, but I very well could’ve been something else. I sometimes dream of being a cartoonist, making brilliant stories for the late, great “Eternauta” comic! Aiming high of course.

And what about gardening? Hands in the life-giving soil, enjoying those bacteria (!) healing and growing with plants. As the monthly magazine of the Royal Horticultural Society once said “driven by a mixture of energy, love – and a dash of obsession. In short, the epitome of an Englishwoman’s garden”.