Sunday, 23 April 2017

Fame - er no not really !

Dear Monty,

It seems I am almost as well known as you - well perhaps not.
As you know Monty I have been writing to you for some years now and it seems that a few other people are reading my correspondence.

I will be opening the garden under the and the editor of our local paper picked up that fact from the 'Yellow Book' and also read the blog. So the long and short  (mainly short) of it is that a telephone interview took place and a photographer was dispatched.

The most painful part of the process was the photographer - he posed me with shears and secateurs in the most unnatural poses, and trying to smile for such a grumpy person as myself was a challenge - so I ended up looking like an elderly demented rabbit.

I'm not sure if during your filmed and photographed life you have ever been asked to hold your stomach in - but there I was trying to smile whilst straining the few abdominal muscles I have hidden under the rolls.

The garden is not looking glorious and neither am I so I do not recommend anyone does this.
Hopefully by June the garden will look better and I am contemplating a corset and 'Just for Men'.


Monday, 10 April 2017


Dear Monty,

I have begun to clear the debris of Winter and the new borders have been planted.
Spring is like a lit fuse, everything is building up to an explosion.

Isn't it strange that we forget what the garden looks like when in its fullness ?
Every year though there are changes, plants have moved about - found their own preferred place - and then there are the plants that have matured and formed larger clumps.

I have been resisting the temptation to be too tidy, because this would preclude the plants wishes to grow where they prefer. It is a struggle though to get the balance right.

I am trying to make a garden that has its own sense of place - and have been reading visiting and learning about what makes such a garden. Sometimes I think I am being pretentious - but then I think of such places as Derek Jarman's garden and am suddenly reinvigorated to keep trying.

I'm looking forward to May and the explosion.


Saturday, 11 March 2017

Oh right we are in THE BOOK !

Dear Monty,

I have had a delivery this week - the 'Yellow Book'. We are in the book. What is worse is the picture they have published makes the garden look fairly decent when in reality it is a bit dismal at the moment. In short I have a LOT of work to do.

But I'm not panicking ... No I'm really not .....Well perhaps a bit.

The main thing is making it worth the £3.50 entry - but Rhos y Bedw who we are partnering with is worth that alone. I know that there has been a debate about the standards of the gardens included but having met some of the gardeners/makers, they all get great pleasure from their gardens, and to be fair its main aim is to raise money for Nursing Charities. As a nurse myself I have seen Macmillan and Marie Curie in action and know the huge impact they have with individuals and families going through the trauma of cancer.

Gardens lift the spirits - even on dull days - but even more so on bright ones. I may not be writing many letters to you in the coming months Monty, yes I know you will be disappointed but I will be in the garden - you are welcome to pop over and give me a hand.


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Panic, panic, don't panic

Dear Monty,

Sara Venn recently blogged about her own neglected garden - but she spends so much time helping others I don't think she needs to feel bad about it - but of course we all do.

I admire her honesty - it's like we should all have pristine plots at all times - tidied at the right times etc etc.

I admit to feeling slightly panicky myself as I watch Spring moving on apace and Dan Pearson is digging and delving and you Monty are gearing up to tell us what we should be doing right now.

I'm glad therefore for Anne Wareham who has just published her new book Deckchair Gardener - I have only read the introduction but already I feel better.

Here is my garden - with rot and overgrown grass and shrubs not pruned on time and a border not yet dug and plants not moved and paint peeling off walls. Pergola needs demolishing, shed needs new roof and window and door ! And supposed to be opening again in June with NGS.

'Pergola' needs taking down

Dogwoods need pruning back

Grass needs cutting

All needs a tidy

New border is meant to come out towards path edge

This patch is to be extended to where the sculpture sits and plants moved !


Saturday, 18 February 2017

The Awakening

Dear Monty,

I have almost felt like giving up writing to you, maybe it's a bit like how Virginia Woolf describes writing in her diary ...' the worst of writing is that one depends so much on praise. I feel rather sure that I will get none for this story; and I shall mind a little.'


An un-lived life to be lived


Spears cut the cold membrane of soil

Hope returns.

I would bring you gifts -

Coffee in bed, flowers

But 'the ebb and flow of the tide of life'

Washes over me.

I dream of the white cotton

Your grassy bed

The uplands

The soft cushion of bracken.

I think of the spring from where you came

Gushing forcefully out of geology

The geology of our roots

Our minerals

Our skin and bone

The hills and the river

Our home.


Monday, 16 January 2017

The lurgy lurks

Dear Monty,

I know you want to know this (It's a bit like sharing pictures of our breakfast or ourselves on social media) But I, yes me the important little man that I am have been suffering from the 'Lurgy'. A cross between a virus (with productive cough and headache which has lasted 4 weeks) and a depression - very little oomph - no motivation and everything having a darkness attached to it.

It is getting better slowly but what it has shown me yet again it that everything can be coloured a darker shade by the mind. What once seemed to shine suddenly becomes dulled no matter how hard we try to lift the dullness.

The garden is overcast today, the 'pergola' at the end of the garden is just about ready to collapse with rot. I have no energy to face it.

But I listened to Private Passions on Radio 3 on Sunday - and the lyrics of the first song played told us to forget perfect offerings ! Yes - nothing will ever be perfect and the light comes in when we accept that everything is cracked.

So I boldly declare that both myself and my garden and everything I do is not perfect and that lifts me into the light again.


Monday, 26 December 2016

I am barely here but the garden remains

Dear Monty,

It has been a while since I wrote to you. People are saying that this year has been one of tragedy - it is true and barely bearable. The depths to which we sink always surprises me until I see myself and realize ..... OK I am full of prejudice too.

Gardens are places of healing are they not ? I find even in the Winter there is a sense of something bigger than our foolish ways to be found even in this small garden.

I remember being disappointed in the summer that my little artwork of a garden still does not have enough for the garden photographer and more importantly - friend - Charles Hawes to find interesting . I accept this and look for ways of making it visually more so - it is a challenge in such a small space.

I read Noel Kingsbury's blog -  In his latest blog he has written about Japanese gardens - and the art of placement. I believe this is what I am aiming for. Not a pseudo Japanese garden, but one with elements that exude a sense of peace.

I am still hopeful.