Out from the Cloud!

This week I have been full of optimism once again at being able to continue my horticultural line of work. With a spring in my step and gentle warmth on my back I worked happily under the early spring sun reassuring me that a new growing season is just beginning. The gardens are full of promise as they wake up from their winter slumber.

Gone is the self-doubt and despair that winter always brings upon me as I tread carefully on slippery paths. Everything is heavier – soil, wheelbarrows and weed buckets. The cold and damp send my hip and leg into spasms. I lurch sideways as I over compensate for ‘being careful’. The dreaded limp becomes more pronounced and the familiar ache in my lower back groans with the extra effort of stability as I slip and slide. I question the logic of this labour intensive occupation!

I work less days in the winter now than before ‘The Accident’, such is my very real fear of damaging the good work my surgeon made putting me back together. I am lucky in that my regular clients are understanding, most have known me before and after. There is not so much to do, the gardens are for the most part winter dormant, nevertheless I still feel guilty every day I am at home.

Luckily some horticultural tasks can be achieved at the drawing board in the warmth of the dining room/office. A time to plan new gardens and borders.

In Winter my mood like the weather becomes unpredictable. Time alone becomes my friend and enemy in equal measure. I am either manic and ‘can do’ as I throw myself into new and put aside projects or the opposite as I head down into the pit of despair becoming despondent, reclusive and unable to concentrate or settle to anything productive.

A can do moment in January saw me enrolling on a beginners oil painting course. For the long-suffering any new hobby – there are many – give him welcome birthday present ideas and this year it was a floor-standing easel to assist me on another journey, this time as an artist!

The Kitchen has like the dining room become dual purpose, at least until the days are warmer when I will decamp out to the summer-house in the garden.

The class started with tonal studies, followed by gradually adding more colours. We have worked on portraiture, landscape and as now back to still life. Some are finished and some will need more work.

Efforts so far Portrait……

Still Life…….


I have even in past years been manic with knitting projects…………

In previous years for the Grandchildren at Mole Hall a blanket and toys!

This year a knitting project for a new grandchild due in June …….


My worry of retiring from a job I love is the catalyst for my despair days. Hours of on-line searching for a less strenuous way to earn a wage plunge me downwards and bitterness rears its ugly head once again.

But in the end gardening is all I want to do, still….. Gardening makes me happy, and is the one thing above any other that I feel confident at. This week my mood was instantly lifted I was outside surrounded by nature – birds, early insects, rabbit munching young shoots, hopping away as I arrived. The resident dog, dropping her ball on my trowel as I weeded, eyes excited, tail wagging, expectant for me to throw one more time. A different garden the resident cat sat on top of an arbour purring as he too enjoyed like me the warming sun, his eyes lazy, half-shut watched me as I toiled away below.

Moving out of the winter season will steadily see my hours increase as the mornings get lighter and the working day gets longer. There will be less time and inclination to spend on indoor pursuits, although I am determined this year to keep up with writing, painting and photography. But for now thoughts of changing what I do will become a distant memory – that is until the next winter when old doubts will rise again!


The Meadow

What a happy homecoming, after eight weeks of travel on the opposite side of the world the garden and I are reunited.


The grassy area at the front that this time last year – when we moved in – was a pristine manicured lawn with knife edged small circular beds under the three trees has now after only a year started its transition into a wild flower meadow.

I could hardly contain my excitement as we drove up the drive, at the sight of the many upright leaves from some of the 300 bulbs lovingly planted in the autumn. The Fritillaria meleagris already in flower, maroon chequered and white heads nodding in the warm sun and gentle breeze.

Leaving long-suffering to the cases I jumped out of the car for a closer look, my delight complete as I noted that there was a healthy representation from all the different bulbs planted – Camassia, Species Tulip ‘Saxatilis’ and Narcissi ‘Actaea’. I stopped short of counting every one but suffice to say at least 70 per cent had come up!

Narcissi poeticus ‘Actaea’ just one in flower but many more I hope over the next few weeks will slowly open imparting their lovely fragrance as I wander through the middle pathway.

It remains to be seen how many of the 150 wild flower plug plants planted last spring, make an appearance.  Some are already to be seen, the rest, well I shall watch and wait fingers crossed!

Meanwhile we left the luggage in the hall as we excitedly toured our ‘estate’ to see what other delights we could find…….

And more…..

Even more