Today I am going to reflect on the wonder of this world.

On the beauty, the resilience, the joy of this planet.  On the good hearts, the kindness, the strength of our fellows.  On the forgiveness, empathy and tolerance of which we are all capable.

Tonight I am sending love to the victims of the terrorist attack in London.

And I am hoping that this act of hate does not incite the same in others.

And I am going to remember that however long the winter, the flower will bloom again.

Three Trugs and a Poem

Today was Nancy Nightingale day, unfortunately no singing, just gardening.  Actually Nance did do a bit of singing but I couldn’t join in as I didn’t know the song.  On reflection this may have been intentional on NN’s part.  We did a little bit of shopping, dug more of the mega-border then created some veggies planters out of various plastic containers.  Some are new, bought specifically for this purpose, some were emptied of smelly socks in order to fulfil their true potential.  All had holes stabbed in the bottom (very satisfying) before the compost was added. The plan is to have at least eight, if not ten, of these trugs lining the wall, varying in size and colour.  It goes without saying that none will be black.  These pretty maids all in a row are now cradling the seed of a spicy leaf mix, radishes, spring onions, rainbow chard, beetroot and carrots.   Others will hold rocket, courgette, cucumber and tomatoes.   A couple will be saved for cerise sweet peas and bright orange pelargoniums. Bring it on and don’t forget your sunglasses!

It is World Poetry Day today.  As I like to join in with these things whenever I can, since yesterday anyway, here is a poem.  It is by William Blake.  It would appear that they spelt “lily” differently in the olden days.  Who am I to argue with WB?


The modest Rose puts forth a thorn,
The humble sheep a threat’ning horn:
While the Lilly white shall in love delight,
Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.


Magnolia ‘Marwood Spring’

Magnolia Marwood Spring

Not only is today the Spring Equinox it is also the International Day of Happiness. Doubly good. Spring is my favourite season, striving for happiness my favourite occupation.  Of course IDH is really about creating happiness, not indulging in it.  This ‘spreading of the happy’ has fringe benefits.  As gardeners we do our best to nurture both the utilitarian and the beautiful.  By doing this we make others happy as well as ourselves.  It warms the soul.  Appreciation, being able to inspire and educate, enlightening others to the joys of the garden, all make the hard work worthwhile. Springtime is when it all starts to become visible, when the shoots show, the seeds germinate, the plans become a little clearer.  It is a time of optimism and, yes, happiness.

Now it just has to stop raining.

This is a picture of probably the best magnolia in the world, ‘Marwood Spring’.  Taken by categorically not the best photographer in the world.  It is far more beautiful in real life.


Magnolia stellata

As I was practising my arpeggios with Nancy Nightingale earlier today, a thought suddenly crossed my mind. “Nance” I said “It has just occurred to me that we have a lot in common, we both make our living from doing something we love.” “Yes” she agreed “Consider the fools that don’t!”  And we laughed in a sinister manner, throwing our heads back with gloating glee.

Many years I go, I used to visit an acupuncturist who had only recently arrived in the country from his native China.  Once the needles were safely in place, and he had a captive audience, Dong would quiz me on the vagaries of the English Language.  These would be words or phrases he had heard throughout the previous week and had puzzled him.  He was puzzled a great deal.  I would do my best to explain why training shoes were called trainers, or why people said sorry all the time.  The receptionist said that usually there was nothing but hushed voices coming from behind the closed door, when I was having my treatment there was raucous laughter. The best medicine they say.  On one occasion Dong asked me what “sinister” meant.  I was stumped for a while.  I can’t remember what I said, but I wondered how this word had come into his world.  Quite why I didn’t ask, I am not sure.

There is nothing sinister about this Magnolia stellata, quite the contrary in fact, it has something of the ethereal about it.  The balance has been redressed.

Very Small Mercies

It was just as well that there were piglets and tree surgeons at the Farm today.  There was little else in its favour.  Wet, muddy, cold, miserable.  And I’ve got a stinky cold and a leak in one of my boots.  This has made me even wetter, muddier, colder and more miserable than usual.  A gorgon. Unlike the little piggies, who are absolutely adorable, although still quite shy.  I am looking forward to scratching their rusty backs and feeding them apples.

The tree surgeons amazed me with their aerobatics and for a while I forgot the constant mizzle/drizzle/rain whilst I studied their craft.

A bonus was the antics of Misty the lamb, who’s mum sadly rejected her.  Watching her snuffling her breakfast, catkin tail wagging furiously, put a smile on my face.  For a moment.

ps  You will be pleased to know that Mrs Duck is sitting firm.  This is even more incredible as not 3m away from her nest the builders have been jack hammering a trench, the debris lifted by a clunking digger and put into a rattling tractor for removal.  Let’s hope it is worth all her trouble. And earache.