Benign Neglect

IMG_3440The reluctant gardener’s focus has been on tending the cropping plants, watering things in pots, and keeping the lawns respectable, she hasn’t paid much attention to the rest of the beds.  But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything to appreciate there.

I don’t know what these flowers are called, but they are a popular perennial in the gardens hereabouts; or maybe they’re popular everywhere, it’s just that I don’t notice them, or can’t see into so many gardens elsewhere.  They appear to require no particular care, and sprout out of the bases of walls and other tight places, nodding their orange and golden heads through summer to autumn, as gradually the buds on each spear open into flower.

In this garden they appear to be thriving in amongst lots of other flowering things which are generally a little bit neglected, but may be all the better and brighter for it.

Benign neglect might be the best implement in the reluctant gardener’s tool box.


Two Shots


A number of the blogs I read regularly have been showcasing two photographs of the same thing; some have been trying different angles, others portrait versus landscape, or wide angle and close-up.  It makes for interesting viewing; it can challenge the ideas of what makes a good photograph.

The reluctant gardener had a go with her camera, not sure of these are weeds or nurtured plants; but they’re coming through the fence.


Everything but the Fuchsia

IMG_3344Only fuchsias are worth saving.

At a recent workshop run by my friend Nina she offered several sentences taken from gardening books as the prompt for a spell of writing.  While many of the sentences were amusing, in fact so deliciously amusing that we were a little at risk of spending too much time enjoying them, or wondering at their out of context profundity, than writing our own new words….. If you keep chicken you’re ahead of the game; spend as much as you can afford; this linguistic dithering is offensive and ought to be straightened out…… 

For me there was only one obvious choice.  Only fuchsias are worth saving.  It has a certain gnomic potency, a rule to live by……. something straight out of the screenplay for Being There.  It did however also generate an immediate picture in my head, and it was a picture of this fuchsia.  It’s a bold, rather brassy shrub, with large double purple and red flowers, ballerinas with full skirts, dancing in great troupes all summer long.  I now have a half written short story for which this was the jumping off point.

The weather this summer has been perfect for prolific flowers, and now I’ve overcome my childhood habit of popping the buds between my thumb and forefinger before they were ready, they are blooming in their own time.

Isn’t ‘fuchsia’ an interesting word?  It was only when I was writing this that I realised I didn’t know how to spell it.  According to one entry I found online (when I was checking) it is frequently misspelt fushcia, presumably by people like me, who sort of know the letters that are in there and try to arrange them so that they reflect the usual pronunciation.  And we’re all wrong.  But now, I think, I’ll remember it.  Maybe.

Hellebore at Blickling

Last week at the Blickling Estate in Norfolk, the gardens were in their end of winter, pre Spring phase of being basically bare.  In one corner, where the snowdrops were already fat and prolific, there was also several Hellebore’s in flower.  Small herbaceous perennials, the flowers tend to droop towards the ground rather than turning their faces to the sun.

In an effort to see what they looked like, I held my camera underneath them and took a few shots, not knowing they would even be in the frame.  This random method of photography produced some interesting results……

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