Pandemic diary 35: Water your roses not your weeds

I'm not sure where I first heard this metaphorical recommendation – probably my mother – but it's stuck with me. Being quite a literal person, I've mostly applied it to gardening. And I have been gardening A LOT this week. It's good for the soul and for physical/mental health. And yeah, sex is cool but you know the British and their gardens.

If gardens had the equivalent of pop music charts then the yellow firethorn (pyracantha) is currently topping the hit parade round ours. It is a fountainous yellow explosion at the moment and has knocked the blooming Harry Baker crap apple tree (seen in foreground) off the top spot this week. It's a bit of impressive yellow punk to add to all the pinks of the camellia and magnolia. Here it is.. It is most magnificent against a blue sky but I wanted to show off the long view for its monstrous, mature scale.

April/May is the best time for this garden, and I suspect many others in the UK. I wonder if this is because everyone has waited so long for spring that they rush out to buy and plant flowers soon as the sun comes out. A wise garden centre dude once told me to buy throughout the season for all-round colour since garden centres tend to show what's flowering now. If you're garden is over by July, then that may be why.

[Can I just say that I find the trend for artificial lawns quite depressing. They look fake and they are rubbish for wildlife and we don't need any more plastic crap in the environment. We live in an over-designed world and this is another example of that. A living lawn is a beautiful, almost spiritual thing – especially when trimmed by rabbits so you don't have to mow it.]

This evening, I started sorting out the front garden which is overrun with virulent dandelions, unwanted Spanish bluebells and evil couch grass. So now I have a neat garden, a full compost and due for a good night's sleep.

Speaking of literal, how about this wallflower? I planted it in the front garden a few years ago and because it prefers full sun it has travelled about 8ft and also hopped to the other sunny side of the brick wall. Clever plant! It's also one of the loveliest smelling flowers, sending its fragrance out across the garden. Sous les pavés, les fleurs! Bit of Paris 1968 for you there.

Today I am thankful for green things. It's sounds ridiculously dramatic (and it is) but I've often thought I wouldn't want to live without the greenness of greenery on our blue planet.

Other colours are available – and just as important. But green, man!

I'm also thankful for this rhododendron gift from my sister last year – it started out pink and has full-bloomed soft white with pink freckles. Lovely!

Good to end on a pseudo and yet real life Georgia O'Keefe flower.

Hope you enjoyed the plants and flowers today, and found them uplifting. And don't forget in "these unprecedented times" to water your roses not your weeds.

Commission/hire me: fiona [at]

3 thoughts on “Pandemic diary 35: Water your roses not your weeds”

  1. Rhododendron yakushimanum Schneekrone! I remember falling in love at first sight with the colour.

    How beautiful your garden looks. Yes, I agree with your feeling about natural synthetic grass. And nothing beats the smell of newly cut grass either.

    Thanks for the ‘Water your roses, not your weeds’ philosophy. Works in teaching too, I’m thinking 🌹

  2. Tell me about your compost bin – make, size and do you recommend? I have started planting veg this year for the first time ever. Oh, how I wish I'd started doing a slightly alarming thing I don't know how to do and for which I don't have enough resources in a year other than a slightly alarming panicking year where I haven't slept enough!

  3. @Liz It's just a standard prob 60L bin with a door at the bottom and a lid at the top. It sits on soil and gets emptied once a year. I love compost day and seeing all the bugs and different layers. You can also get open composters or make them from pallets etc.

    I tend to layer the compost with green and brown material, eg, veg clippings or grass, then loo roll and cardboard (must be clean cardboard – no shop packaging or labels/tape). It helps the bugs move around.

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