What’s in a word?

A quadrille for dverse.

wild garlic flowers

We call them all gardens,

billiard table seas, where ride-on mowers

ply back and forth like small oil tankers,


the military formations

of biologically-selected flowers,

all the colours of a photoshop sunset,


and the plot of earth,

half-tamed, timid and subtle,

where nature wanders.


A walk around the house widdershins

We walk through the porch and turn widdershins, north, and into the shade, past the barn door where tomatoes have set themselves in the compost around the hydrangea, frazzled by the morning sun,


Tomatoe plants

and the well with its old hand pump, water deep, four, five metres now from lack of rain, festooned in ivy and wild irises.


Left, along the north-facing wall, the old barn, window below and shutter on the hayloft above,


windows attic.jpg

and what was once the main door, stuck fast now and patched at the bottom with tin and old planks.


old main door.jpg

Turning south, along the west-facing wall, the passionflower, transplanted from Bordeaux, mown down twice, a stem recovered (twice), rooted and replanted (twice). This stuff is indestructible.



Left again, along the south-facing wall, beneath the study window, like the Gobi Desert. Hollyhocks are hanging on, and the roses planted this year with two cutting of the old vine. Morning glories thrive, but bloom only in the morning.


beneath the study.jpg

Hibiscus grows everywhere here, great luxuriant bushes.


Another vine cutting, happy that the sun has moved around, and nasturtiums that will grow anywhere.


Even the sun-loving plumbago has bleached in the fierce sun this year. From delicate sky blue, they have turned almost white.



A sad cutting of honeysuckle brought from Bordeaux shot into life here and rambles everywhere. A small pot of sage bought on the market is a huge bush now.

sage bay honeysuckle.jpg

Back into the porch where geraniums, basil, bay cuttings and hydrangeas sit in the shade and watch the evening sun bake the meadow grass.

plants in the porch.jpg

Time to water it all now.

He hands her a rose

A minute poem ( I seem to be thinking in minute poetry at the moment) for the Secret Keeper’s writing prompt. The words she has chosen are:


The image is one I used yesterday, but it seems equally appropriate for this poem.


You laugh and hand me a red rose,

The west wind blows,

Rain in the air,

Gems in your hair.


Forever mine, forever yourn,

Young love is born,

A heady scent,

And then you went.


The garden lies forlorn and bare,

Your spangled hair,

No more I’ll kiss,

Your touch I’ll miss.


Winter comes, white petals falling,

Wild geese calling,

Though not to me,

To the wild sea.

Poetry challenge #30: Peacock garden

The image plus a handful of words prompt is one I like a lot, so I’m doing it again this week. Tell me if it’s getting boring, but I have the feeling it’s a popular idea. First, I found this painting, which made my skin crawl just a little. Is it a dream or a nightmare? Are the birds welcoming or defiant? Is it dusk, dawn, a gloomy day or a moonlit night? Why is her right hand half-raised? You decide.


Then I thought of a few suitable words to go with the image:

indigo, cry, night bird, fleeting, forbidden

and I came up with this poem.

Peacock Garden


The cry of the peacock, his raucous voice warning,

Shaking proud plumes in the indigo night.

She enters regardless, the forbidden night garden,

Fluttering feather heart beating in time

To the ripples of anger, the seething bird fury,

Snatching her courage in hooked beak and claws.

The vision is fleeting, the glitter of starlight,

Falling in cold waves on dark distant shores.

His familiar stride, arms swinging, retreating,

Tossing behind him a handful of blooms.

She knows from the sound as they fall by the wayside,

The brittle, sweet fragments of love she will find,

Scattered like tears on the indigo storm wind,

Useless and vain as a peacock’s gold crown.


Leave the link to your poem, any style, any form, in the comments and I’ll post all the entries next Tuesday as usual. You have one week from now…

NaPoWriMo: Earth

An Earth Day prompt. This might be the first poem of several.



not rich, not deep and galleried with crawling things.

Thin and unlovely it was,

speckled with decades of thoughtless waste,

glass shards, bottle tops, plastic caps, nylon string,

and older, rusted things that once has a purpose.

Garden earth,

was tainted with paint spills and varnish,

and killer products supposed to ward off evil pests,

the stupidity of ignorant preference,

tulips over dandelions.

My garden earth,

I tend and nurture,

returning what I can,

the peel of dead vegetables, tea leaves,

the good things the earth eats.

My garden earth responds,

With the riddling of galleries,

the wriggling of earthworms and earwigs,

the spiral beauty of snails,

and the first prize,

the gold of the podium,

the mad scampering of blackbirds

as they dig and scratch, squabble and cluck, tossing and turning,

in their wild treasure hunt.

My garden earth responds with life.

Falling starlight

A quatern I spent yesterday evening writing. Another poetry form using a refrain. I altered the last refrain slightly because it sounds better.



Falling starlight breaks and lies,

Upon the roses glowing violet,

Vermilion cloud, a night owl’s cries,

Captured rays of faded sunset.


Though in the dark sky moonlight floods,

Falling starlight breaks and lies,

In pools of silver on the woods,

Where the silent night owl flies.


Pale wings beating skim the skies,

The scent of roses, where you passed,

Falling starlight breaks and lies.

On bitter lips, a kiss, your last.


The fox slips silent, still the hare,

The night is listening to your lies,

The owl cries in the garden where,

Falling starlight breaks and dies.

Flash fiction: Dreams of gardens

This was written using Ronovan’s Friday Fiction prompt. Too late for me to enter ( I’ve had my hands full this week) but take a look at the other stories. They are always worth reading. The theme is a celebration of life.

Photo ©Vera Buhl


I had always dreamt of having a wild garden. Neat, tame gardens with neat lawns and rainbow-coloured borders had never held much appeal for me. Trees, was what I wanted, but not massive trees that threw so much shade nothing grew beneath them except shadows. I wanted light, graceful trees that fluttered in the wind and set dappled patterns dancing through long grasses dotted with wildflowers. Apple trees and plum, birch and rowan, that’s what I wished for, and sunny glades where rabbits watched and squirrels darted. I’d have a little valley with a stream running over mossy stones, and a hill yellow with gorse. More than a dream house I had had a dream garden. The house would grow out of the garden, full of wooden beams and mossy stone walls, house leeks on the roof tiles and geraniums at every window.

I thought this would be the house before we even got there, just a feeling I had from the photos, the quiet, thoughtful way it sat on the hillside among the trees and the cow pasture. The feeling stayed with me, walking from the village with the clouds hanging low and damp, following the ups and downs of the sinuous country lane, as it wound past new iron gates and barking dogs. Up again it led, beneath overhanging trees, leaving the new houses and the barking dogs behind. Then down, winding, through greenery and damp almost rain.

To the right, beneath the low branches of a clump of hazels, sprouted the rusted iron railings of a tiny cemetery. There was nothing to say why, or who, just an enclosure the size of a large car within a copse of hazel trees. Pots of porcelain flowers lay among long grass, knocked over by the wind or some passing animal. No headstones; two small mossy slabs. The gate hung on one hinge, the earth and the grass holding it fast. Running everywhere through the grass were blue bell clusters of grape hyacinths, trickling through the railings, in and out of ropes of brambles, over the bank and into the lane.

We passed in reverent silence, the calm seeping through the soles of our shoes with the raindrops that trickled down every grass stem. Peace followed, the twitter of finches, a couple of jays shouting among distant trees, the rustle of last year’s oak leaves brown and dry but still clinging to the branches. Beyond the hazels, beyond the next bend, the house appeared, sleeping grey stone, resting on the side of the hill, facing a line of poplars and a rippling stream. At our backs, lay the people of the place, unwilling to leave even in death. We strode onward, off the lane, through the meadow where cows had grazed, past the fruits trees, plum and apple, the rose bushes full of buds, and we knew that we were coming home.



We had a poke around in the abandoned military barracks on Sunday. They’ve opened up another section and it’s lovely in an eerie sort of way. The snaps aren’t any good, but then they wouldn’t be, would they? Ghosts don’t ever come out in photos.




Finbar ghost

Abandoned garden, with roses twined,
Bind about the brambles and plaster,
Faster than the night falls,
Walls crumble to dust.
Must it be like this always?
Days tumble into night,
Light fades and slides into dark,
Lark descends and rises no more,
Law that silences all we love most?
Ghost dog wanders lost,
Frost gathers in cold hair.
Beware the lost places where the lonely walk,
Talking in their last sleep.
Weep for the forgotten.
Rotten fruit falls to the teeming earth,
Births an abandoned garden, with roses twined.

Summer garden

It’s Sunday and it’s hot, and I thought I’d take a few pics of the garden because I like it when it’s a jungle. Even if it has been unkindly described as ‘a green mess’.

Two years ago I wrote a post about my attempts to create a dog proof garden This post could be described more as how to stuff as much greenery as possible into a tiny town garden. Experience so far has been that the pots and rose bushes put a stop to the dog’s gallop, but NOTHING keeps cats out. Everything that I planted behind the dog barricade of pots has been dug up by gangs of felines who have obviously been working round the clock to eradicate every tiny shoot that obstructs the gigantic cats’ toilet they assume the garden to be.

PENTAX Digital Camera

How to make sure your garden gets no sunshine whatsoever.

PENTAX Digital Camera

A few pics of ‘the green mess’. Many haven’t come out, or just look like a sort of green mess.

PENTAX Digital Camera

PENTAX Digital Camera

There are about eight self-seeded fig trees growing in the garden though Finbar keeps most of them an bonsai size. A couple of them are getting out of control though.

PENTAX Digital Camera

Yes, there is an apple tree in there somewhere.

PENTAX Digital Camera

The herb garden has spread from its original spot…

PENTAX Digital Camera

PENTAX Digital Camera

The wisteria has flowered constantly since mid April…

PENTAX Digital Camera

…and now the flowers hang down next to bunches of grapes.

PENTAX Digital Camera

One day I am going to get a decent camera and a bigger garden!