Blue

Bideford Long Bridge in the morning sun.  All is calm.

A moment earlier I had been passed by an excitable crocodile of fluoresence as a stream of school kids walked past.  I heard one of them say, as they pointed to one of the moored boats, rusted and land-bound and in the process of slow refurbishment, “Is that the Titanic?”.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to hear the answer.

The Great Photo Sorting Season

The Great Photo Sorting Season is now open!

When I say “open” I mean “I’ve been thinking about it without doing anything terribly constructive”.

My first delve into the recent past is a stunning Iris ensata.  This photo was taken on a July visit to Marwood Hill Gardens with my pal Deb.  If you wish to reminisce along with me check out my post Friendship.  It was a wonderful day, although I really should have written down the name of this beauty.  I will have to pop back to find out.  As anyone who knows this garden will know, it won’t be a great hardship.

 

Renewal

Today we went for a walk.  This is an example of the crazy things I have got planned for my month long sabbatical.  It was nice.  We may well do it again.

One of the first things we saw was large fallen tree, a beech perhaps but difficult to positively identify without scrabbling and a festive excess of cheese and pringles has rendered this impossible.  It had crashed into another on its unfortunate descent, felling a further substantial specimen as it toppled.   We need more trees not less, I thought.  Although not surprised, the high winds and wet soil often add up to unstable footings, the sight did make me feel a bit sad.

Then, as we wandered around the garden where OH used to work, we came across plants that he had put in more than 7 years ago.  A three metre high Leptospermum grandiflorum, grown from seed I collected from Marwood Hill Gardens, a Crinodendron hookerianum now a fine looking large specimen, a dozen fruit trees all maturing well, a silver birch past the lanky teenage stage, amongst many others.  And I thought, a good job.   In our own way, as gardeners, we help to renew, to replant and to take up the slack.  We may not be as good as Mother Nature, but we do our best.

Trees fall, it is the nature of things.  If left to their own devices they may well rejuvenate from the rootball, any dead will provide a new ecosystem for all manner of birds and beasties, fungi and fauna, and ultimately will feed the soil it lies upon.  All is not lost.  Often a tragedy is not as fruitless as it first appears.

Which brings me in a very round about, the taxi driver from hell, way to the year ahead, which is shuffling in the wings as I type.   We must all do what we can to find positives amongst the many negatives.  To keep on doing what we can to make this a better world.  To spread the love.  To renew and replant, to take up the slack.  All is not lost.  I am hoping so anyway.

And I wish you all a fabulous 2020, filled with fulfilment and joy and of course love.  And if you feel so inclined, get out there and plant some things.

 

Grevillea ‘Olympic Flame’

This beauty is Grevillea ‘Olympic Flame” with its exotic flowers that remind me of tropical birds of paradise or perhaps scorching uncut toenails.  Take your pick.  One image is definitely more attractive than the other.

Which ever you decide upon, it is a fabulous shrub and hardier than its fancy plumage would suggest.   I have decided to dwell upon the avian simile.

 

 

Respite

The wilds of the last few days have diluted into dull murk with a smattering of hail.   Last week was a washout workwise and I am twitching in my enforced respite.  I am hopeful for the coming week, the last before my January sabbatical.  And then respite of choice.  Before we know it, spring will be sprunging and skipping will be skipped.

In the meantime we could do with a bit of sunshine.  And, like this aralia at RHS Rosemoor a couple of weeks ago, we can reach to the skies.

 

Best

A frosty morn; a road trip with Hero, warmed by winter mixture; a coffee rendevous with Torrington Tina, Rusty Duck and Mrs Bun; a lesiurely wander around sugar sifted gardens, enjoying the familiar and admiring the new; chickens and fir cones and deer and ferns; icy rills and the ghosts of water lilies; soup, cheddar and chatter; bargain buying; squashes and pak choi; conifers and grasses; reflections and back lighting; and laughter, of course, laughter.  Everything a trip to RHS Rosemoor with your friends should be.  And more.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better.

A ginormous disco ball hanging in a stately oak.

Kindness

Social media tells me it is World Kindness day.  Sounds like a good thing.  Although I doubt the people who should be taking note are paying attention.  Still we must do what we can.

Today we had a day trip to the big city, well a city anyway.  We wore our best smocks held neatly in place with baler twine and caught the horse and trap into town.  After a wander around the shops, buying a few essentials, pitch forks and the like, we went to Zizzi’s for lunch.  We always go to Zizzis.  It is great.  If anyone from Zizzi’s is reading this and would like to reward my testimonial with an unlimited life time of pizzas, I would not refuse.   I am sure I could do better than “it is great” if I put my mind to it.

Although we were early, the restaurant was busy and our charming Italian waitress was a little flustered.  The meal was delicious and as we were about to leave she apologised for her tardy service.  She then explained that she was quite new to the job and hadn’t known it so frantic before.  I tried to reassure her.  I told her it had been fine, we hadn’t had to wait long, we could see it was busy.  Most importantly she was nice and most things can be forgiven if you are nice.  “You think I am nice?!” she beamed.  “Yes, I do, very nice”.  “Thank you, you have made me feel so much better, you have made my day”.

And her reaction made my day.

It is worth it, a kind word.

To unashamedly quote The Bard, who was actually talking about something else at the time “It is twice blest:  It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

Still it is true.  It is good to be kind.  And once you get going it is very easy.