Spotlight

We visited Cowbridge Physic Garden today. A scant half-acre walled garden, it manages to cram in everything you could ever ask from a physic garden. It is a magical place and I snapped my way around, greedily grabbing scenes of knot garden and pleach and fountain. At its farthest reaches, we stepped through an arched doorway, from brightness into shade. Unbeknownst to us, we were now in the Old Hall Gardens, admiring a pendula lime, ancient yew and tulip tree. The shaded border was plumptious with astrantia, thalictrum and Solomon’s seal. And a stand of perfect red poppies, dramatically spotlit. It was the shot of the day.

Six on Saturday – New Friends

If it wasn’t for May, I think June would be my favourite month. There is still optimism in the air and the ravages of reality are yet to pay a visit. All is good. Anything is possible. Today is the first SoS of my second best month. All the pots have now been transported from the tender loving care of brother and sister-in-law’s garden to Peggy’s patio. I am very happy to be reunited. One was left behind, Magnolia ‘Heaven Scent’. This glorious tree is part payment for their kindness and a magnolia really should have its feet in the earth and not in compost. What is more, there is a perfect spot for it. Luckily/unluckily, Lazarus the acer failed to rise again this spring so there is prime real estate ready for moving into. And of course I am not the only Heavens in town. If you would like to take stock of this fabulous month in all its glory, at the four corners of the known universe, than you could hardly do better than to visit The Gamemaster and see what the other SoSers have been up to. All good clean fun, I am quite certain. Now we really should proceed.

First a self-seeded scabious that is possibly the godzilla off-spring of Scabiosa ‘Blue Jeans’. It is already attracting attention from the local bee population.

Next we have Aquilegia ‘Egg’ so called because …. suddenly I have a distinct feeling of deju vu. As I have told you the story a few time before, I will just precis it as follows: farm, eggs, aquilegia, heinous crime.

The sempervivum are picking up, seemingly nonchalant as to whether their most glorious and talented mama are by their side or not. To be truthful the same can be said for all of the other plants. I am trying not to take it personally.

Onto my yearly joy at the flowering of Rhodohypoxis baurii or equivalent. I am very happy to be corrected in its identification, but not by the fact they are little gems of wonder.

Now, we have something flowering in the little tufa planter that in its Devon life languished in the Frozen North. It seems, for some unexplicable reason, that since it has been in more convivial conditions it is growing splendidly. Any answers to this conundrum, please put them on a postcard and send to The Guilty As Charged. I think it is a lithodora, but I’m not certain. But still this blue makes my toes tingle.

Lastly, we have Potentilla atrosanguinea cosing up to Lilium ‘Forever Linda’, I have a feeling in my bones that we are all going to get on very well here.

That is your lot, my friends, have fun and be safe, until next time.

Exciting

A few days ago I sowed some “just within the sow-by date but I wasn’t going to pay you any heed anyway” veggies. Some french beans, some broad beans and some cucumbers. “Do you mind if I put a few pots on the kitchen window cill?” I shouted through to Peggy, although in truth the deed was already done. I’m also planning some cut-and-come-again leaves and various oriental salad whose names escape me. I ran out of compost so they will have to be patient. I will grow them on in large pots and give them my undying love and affection. One cucumber seedling was eager to get going, having foolishly believed my intentions and declarations, greeting me this morning when I staggered into the kitchen. The sight of a germinating seed never gets any less exciting. And I like it that way.

Cloud Monster

It wasn’t until I looked at this photo of a beautiful and anonymous rhododendron in Max’s garden, that realised I had missed something. In the background, as I admired the most wonderful bee-hugging blooms, a cloud monster waved his arms in anger. I bet he was upset that I was ignoring his voluptuous curves, but it is so easy to be distracted by the plethora of blooms at the moment . Springtime is a tough one for cloud monsters.

Clues

Where have I been today? Let me give you a few clues.

Cherry-red tulips in a cerise-pink pot, leaning up against a turquoise cabinet.

It must be Nancy Nightingale’s garden!

Always a joy.

Sharp Shooter

Sometimes accompanying photos are meaningful, integral to the post, but sometimes they are incidental. It is tempting to invent a story about this picture of a fallen magnolia petal, how it represents the frivolous world, the glories of which are so easily cast aside, how its nibbled edges are a mirror to my own rough-edged soul and its dewy iridescence suggests a chance of redemption from the torment. But the truth is I wanted a chat and the photo needed using up.

On Friday I had “Le Jab”. As my “nothing is straightforward” life would dictate, the dedicated sharp shooter was not so sharp and a poor shooter. Her charm had been left at the door to hopefully be retrieved later. I am not here to judge, but after her attack my arm bled for longer than necessary and now sports a fine bruise. Maybe she saw the look on my face as I watched her mess up the previous victim. “Do you usually bleed when you have an injection” she accused . “No, but I expect it is my fault” I replied. “Correct” she barked. Scary posh women have been the bane of my life.

A sore arm, feeling a bit poorly and the further concreting of my fear of a certain kind of women, were all of course worth it. It is the way to go. Upwards and onwards. Ever upwards. And next time I am hoping for the someone who actually likes people.

Seriously, well done everyone who is working so hard to get us all vaccinated, to keep us safe, to set us on the road to hugs and reuniting with our loved ones. It must be tricky sometimes to keep a smile on your face. And I thank you. Even the grumpy gung ho ones.

Reveal

On Planet Gill, at this precise moment in time, the westerly wind is ushering the rain up the road with a slightly disturbing ferocity.

Best thing is to draw the curtains and turn my focus to the Cornish daffs, which have been slowly opening over the last couple of days. An enchanting reveal of their golden glory.

Inertia

My industrious phase was short-lived, as I feared it would be. The slough of inertia has returned to weigh me down. Medals will not be returned.

Today, an effort was made. We mustered the wherewithal to venture out for a walk, enjoying what passed for sunshine and the swelling buds of magnolia and camelia. This witch hazel had passed the budding stage and its arachnoid flowers were in their prime. To think I might have missed the sight of these tiny buttercup yellow streamers. I must keep focused, it is all happening out there.

Terrier

The wind is blowing and the raining is pouring and I have too much time to think. My mind is a terrier, shaking worries to no avail, when it would be more sensible to wander into happier mental climes. And who is suffering? The person who I believe wronged me? Not at all. They are oblivious; whilst I am agonising, perplexed and astounded, reliving events, even worrying that the mistake was mine, they care nothing.

And then I remembered something. A few months or years or whatevers ago I attended a mindfulness session, with Lady Mantle. Do not fret, Lady Mantle was not in charge of proceedings, that would be a different event altogether. A much more appropriate women was in charge, the lovely Gemma, our yoga teacher, with her peach skin voice and ways of fluid gentleness.

Amongst other things that day, Gemma explained to us the concept of RAIN. No, not rain; in North Devon we know quite a lot about that already, there is no call for workshops on the subject. I am talking about RAIN. This particular version of RAIN stands for Recognise, Allow, Investigate, Nurture.

This is my interpretation, please forgive me if I am mistaken, I was in a near trace-like state of relaxation at the time and for this we must blame Gemma. Perhaps it works like this: I recognise my hurt, I allow myself be angry, I attempt to understand why I feel that way and lastly, through self-kindness, I can move forward. Something like that anyway, perhaps you could look it up. It helped, it really did.

You could also admire the pink hull-like flowers of Lobelia bridgesii, they will soothe soul too.