More flowers

I took some pictures this morning before the sun got too hot and the Morning Glories closed up. The white speckling on the petals is pollen—I missed the bee. The photos come up well in this huge format.




Morning glories and hollyhocks


Pommier d’amour

Mex cherry.jpg










We bought a half a dozen different roses at the supermarket for next to nothing. None of them have been remotely like what’s described on the label, but they are all lovely.




And the fig tree that was growing too close to the house, destroyed, dug up, hacked back last year and this spring, will not give in. The shoots have produced a lot of figs so we’ll give it a reprieve, at least until the fruit is ripe.

Unwanted fig


Today the weather is changing, from wet and mild and springlike, to a mini ice age. The wind last night veered to the north and blew the clouds away. Today is sunny and still warm, but it isn’t going to last. The meteo office refers to it as the Moscow-Paris. It’s going to get cold.

I walked around the homestead and tried to get some pics before it gets too cold to take gloves off outside. It’s difficult trying to hold a dog’s lead at the same time, hence the bit of camera shudder here and there.

The wild cherries are covered in blossom, especially far on is this very old one, even though the pic is a bit blurry.


The grass is full of Muscari, little grape hyacinths.


and kingcups, especially in the damp places.


Beneath the trees, husband has been clearing the brambles, but the lungwort seems undeterred.


We have one clump of wild daffodils. The neighbour has a field full of them.


Everywhere is running with water. The stream…


the ditches


the overflow from next-door’s pond.


The next pics will be of the frost, if I dare go out in it.

Microfiction: Gardening

Today’s word from the Daily Post is ‘diverse’. Diverse is a term that’s getting a lot of air time lately. I’ll leave the more weighty definitions to other people and play with the more frivolous.



Irene was a gardener. Not like Fred Sutcliff next door who thought a garden was a square of green grass with a border of tea roses round it, and not like Enid Butler who thought a garden was what you had to get rid of if you wanted to keep cars. Irene had green fingers. She dug and mulched and composted. She took cuttings, split and grafted. She made raised beds, rockeries, herb squares and sunken water gardens. Every square inch was planted with something. She knew exactly where each plant would do best, and when it proved to be a stubborn bugger that didn’t conform to type, she moved it until it was satisfied.

Irene’s George had been more like Fred Sutcliff, but he had learned to leave her to the gardening and had stuck to his wood carving instead. Now George had passed on, but the garden was going from strength to strength. It became Irene’s private world.

Irene had a grand daughter, Julie. She had several grand daughters but Julie was the one who liked to have her own bit of garden to dig in. Irene encouraged her, giving her bits of geranium to plant, the odd packet of seeds. She explained which colours went best together, how to plant borders with the tall flowers at the back. Julie listened, and she dug, fed worms to the robin, caught slugs and tipped them over the hedge into Fred Sutcliff’s garden when he was out, and she watched the flowers grow.

Julie’s mother thought it was a funny sort of occupation for a little girl, but she was indulgent, and for Julie’s sixth birthday she gave her a miniature set of gardener’s tools, plant pots and a great armful of packets of seeds. The flowers in the pictures were dazzling, every possible colour imaginable. Julie was entranced.

“You’re lucky, being an April baby.” Irene beamed at her. “We’ll be able to plant out your seeds straight away. We’ll see what your mum’s chosen, and I’ll have a think about where they look best.”

Irene helped Julie clear her corner of the garden, pointed out which seeds should be planted where, which ones weren’t really suitable, and left her to it. It was June before she realised that Julie had gone beyond her remit. Julie’s flowers weren’t obvious at first, growing randomly among the carefully chosen borders and arrangements. But as they gained in size and confidence, and especially as they came into flower, Irene realised the enormity of what her grand daughter had done. Pale pink sweet peas clambered among the bright orange of monbretia, red poppies danced through purple phlox, bold flames of nasturtiums swallowed the delicate blue geraniums. Everywhere colours clashed. The discordant tones of creepers crawled among the delicate spires of lilies, through the rose trees, rambled down the rockeries.

“Look,” Julie said, pointing to the nasturtiums that climbed to her head height along the thorny stems of a pink rose. “Aren’t they pretty?”

“It’s a mess!” Irene said. “They’re all in the wrong places. You can’t mix colours together like that. And you can’t let them climb where they want either.”

“Why not?”

“Because…it doesn’t look right, all those different heights and colours growing next to one another.”

“They do in the field.”

“Exactly! A field is wild. This is a garden.”

Julie gave her grandmother a disappointed look. “I like wild best.”

A bee buzzed past. On its way to the rose, it sampled a sweet pea.

“See,” Julie said. “So do the bees.”

So many wars

Photo ©Avishai Teicher

©Avi1111 dr. avishai teicher

So many wars after so many years,
So many deaths and so many tears,
So many poppies that blow on the hill,
And still we keep sending our men out to kill.
The poppies that blow in the fields of the Somme,
Are the same as the flowers piled up with aplomb,
On the coffins and graves where our young lives have bled,
In the name of a nation with no tears to shed.

Blog award, editing, and poems

Today has been momentous. First Ali Isaac presents me with our story collection to begin the editing, then The Ogham Stone literary journal asks me for a bio to complete my entry in their spring 2015 issue, and now Sally Cronin has nominated me for an award. The deal was, award or flowers, and being in the throes of editing, and being a flower nut, I took the flowers. Here they are. Gorgeous, aren’t they? In thanks and appreciation, have a poem, Sally.


When I try to pin down the wind
I taste the salt words on my tongue
Feel the leaf rustle on my skin
See the dimpled water rush beneath its breath.
Under the cold, cloud-cluttered sky,
Trees wait stoically for the spring,
And in some garden,
Sheltered by a hedge
Where robins dart and blackbirds dig,
Flowers bloom
And I have no words to paint the joy
Of such colour on a winter’s day.

Please pop over to Sally’s blog here and meet some of the other bloggers she has chosen to nominate.