Friday, February 6, 2009

Monty Don on gardening in winter... and spring

"For much of the winter the garden sulks outside. It is a lumpen thing like a chicken in moult or a catwalk model in curlers and spots. The thing itself is still there but not, certainly not, at its best. I find it hard to engage with it." (from Fork to Fork, p. 126, in the chapter on February)

"Northern winters may be long and dark, but northern springs are matchless." (p. 127, March).

I feel strong sympathy with the second of these quotations, but I'm not so sure about the first. I've described our garden as sulking at me in winter before, certainly (and bullying me in the summer). But there's a certain perverse satisfaction in being out in the garden when nobody else fancies it. Less self-consciously, if you do something now, it stays done, unlike in the likes of June, where a week later you can scarecely tell where you've been.

I feel a little like a man with an impossibly glamorous wife. During the day she strides about, fiercely independant. In the evening she sparkles and he accompanies her proudly but somewhat in her shadow. But at night, as she lies asleep, he looks down at her beside him, without her make-up and elegant outfit, and she's all his, there in the dark together.


  1. Sometimes I think all gardens bully us in the summer, "Weed me! Weed me!" is what mine says. I wanted to ask you if you were a member of Blotanical, a directory of garden blogs. I see you have a fairly new blog here, so maybe? or not?

  2. Hi Emily - thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you enjoyed it. You ask for a letter - try M
    (I am envious of your trying it as I can already think of things I would write about!) Loved reading about your garden. I too love the garden in the evening, when you can't see the weeds quite so clearly. Do you know the rhyme:
    Suckers and seeds, the weeds will win,
    we'll have the 'ole world for our own.
    And oh how glorious will come in
    the era of the great self-sown.
    Happy gardening. Call again.

  3. tina - hello again - no, I've never heard of it. I'll investigate! The snag with this garden is that on the rare occasions I get close to getting on top of it, I go and make it more complicated and time-consuming...

    Weaver - thank you :) M.... *thinks* I shall get my teeth into it :) Will probably answer on my writing blog though. No, I hadn't heard that rhyme. I feel a bit self-sown sometimes.

  4. I do that too Emily! (get on top just, then make it more labour-intensive)
    And I love the 'impossibly glamorous' metaphor.


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