Wednesday, June 11, 2008


My garden is not designed; it emerges.

I thought it was emerging quite well - what with the

Flowering Nettles

and flowering Sage;

the bright green Mint

- and Hollyhocks growing tall (with buds on);

and the one-day-it-will-be-purple Clematis,

the Marigolds and Californian Poppies;

and the Buttercups looking very sunny and cheerful;

the Dandelion too -

(which I cut around when I neaten the edge)

(well sort of).

(I mean 'sort of neaten' - 'neaten' is an imprecise word).

And, best of all, the Globe Artichoke being nearly two foot high and spreading its arms gracefully

(as if it's already the star of the show,

as if it's already dominating the stage)

embracing the black fly;

- the black fly which are gone

- the black fly which have abandoned its withered and forlorn body as coldheartedly as if it were Thomas a Becket.

I forgive the slugs - the slugs which decimated yet another tuft of chives over night. They were doing what slugs do - decimate.

That my favourite blade of grass has been flattened - well, footballs are nature.

But why, Ceres, Robert and Cadis, did you wrench the Artichoke from its place?

Why did you snap its tap root?

Why did you offer its sap to the morning sun? let the heat suck its life until it resembled nothing more than a pile of old broccoli?

Even the ants are bewildered. They are running up and down its veins - looking for . . . for . . . blackfly? Carting them elsewhere?

(Memory fades. I'm no longer sure they were blackfly.)

Watch out Dicksonia Antarctica - you're about to move to a bigger pot.

The runt of spare Artichokes will be given yours.

With careful tending, it too may have its day.

Then - I'm going to see Mrs Smith.

I've had enough of her sour milk and her weak tea and her plant wrecking, rubbish throwing, whoever-heard-of-your-stupid-little-planets-anyway children.



(Marjorie phoned.)


Mo said...

Ah Esther, I went out this morning to discover that something, or somethings had eaten most of my prize basil plant! Don't even know what would be fond of basil here in the desert, need to get my books out, but they obviously enjoyed it greatly! :)

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Those kids sound as destructive as the power company tree manglers (trimmers)! Is there a polite way to ban them from the garden? Little barbarians.

easygardener said...

I've always thought Dicksonias might have little feet of their own - like the Luggage in Terry Pratchett's Discworld.
Then they could repot themselves.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Esther, I'm sorry to chuckle at your misfortune, but it was wittily written.~~Dee

Esther Montgomery said...

Mr McGregor's Daughter - You are too gentle. Polite, did you say? But 'Barbarians' is an excellent description.


Esther Montgomery said...


In the process of re-potting, I realised a joke had been played on me that it has taken three years to discover.

When I bought the Dicksonia, the Antarctica bit was miss-spelled (thought nothing of it) and it was named as a 'Helen Cowcher'.

Wanting to make sure I was doing everything 'right' when I moved it on, I Googled it.

Couldn't find a Dicksonia Antarctica Helen Cowcher - only a Helen Cowcher who has written a children's book called 'Antarctica' (about Emperor Penguins, I think!).

Phoned Garden Centre - not only have I been spoofed by believing the name but I've been looking after the plant all wrong.

I hadn't realised it only takes nutrients through its trunk (which is its root) and not through the ground at all. Nor have I fed it - through its trunk or through its anything. And I've used tap water - which I shouldn't have (too much lime in Dorset).

None the less, it's thriving, with long, healthy, green fronds.

No thanks to me, apparently.

It must simply like its situation in the garden.

(Well, they didn't have gardeners in pre-historic times so I suppose I shouldn't be so surprised its managed happily by its own devices.)


Esther Montgomery said...

Mo - now my 'main' seeds are through the system, I'm planning to start off some late herbs; basil among them.

Basil is one of my top favourites - and with home-grown tomatoes . . . well!

But I'll have to raise an armed guard to protect it from snails.


Esther Montgomery said...

Thanks, Dee.


garden girl said...

Esther, I'm so sorry about the artichoke. Those children need some manners! They are vegetable terrorists. Your garden must scream when it sees them coming. I fear for the basil and tomatoes.

Brenda Jean said...

Awwww...I've felt this way twice. Once when I had these two wonderful sunflowers growing so straight and tall. I came home from a weekend away and they were on the ground. Something had bit them off. Then next time was last year. My first rose bud on the little rugosa rose I had raised from a bareroot. I watched it daily. I was SO excited, and then I went out one day and 3 evil Japanese Beetles were sitting where the bud had been. They ate it! I was so angry, especially because the dang things couldn't understand my cussing.

Esther Montgomery said...

P.S. I've just thought - if anyone's short of a bit of internet reading over the next couple of weeks, they might like to take a look at THE BRICKS IN THE CAVE
and fill the gap with that.

It's a hefty read on screen - but it's a good one.

It's primarily for children - but that's ok . . . and it's an adventure which is good . . . . and it's set in Dorset - which is a definite plus.

It has last summer's dates on it - because that's when it was put there - but, if you happen to like the idea of a 'Book on a Blog' - you might like to try that one!