Round and Round the Garden like a Teddy Bear …


“A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot.”


I confess that I am not a passionate gardener. I have a strong aesthetic appreciation of a beautiful garden, enjoy lovely plants and blooms, and I admire those who put so much hard work into their plots, but personally, I lack the passion (and patience) my mother displays. Now, of course, she isn’t physically able to tend her garden as she has always done in the past. 

Thus it has hurt me in the last few weeks to see this little garden, which has always given my mother so much pleasure, becoming overgrown with weeds and the wrong sort of grass in the wrong place. With downpour upon downpour, shower upon shower, everything has been soaked in the monsoon-like conditions we have enjoyed so far this summer and responded with rapid growth. My mother loves roses, and though the garden is small she has several strong rose bushes, which have been here for many years and bloom faithfully for her every summer.

Although the rain has brought the plants on, it has also spoilt many blooms, so when this morning dawned bright and dry and sunny, I went out with the secateurs to try to deadhead as many of the roses as possible.

They weren’t pruned properly last year, so have grown very tall, making it hard to reach the tops, and the oldest one of all, an Albéric Barbier planted sixty years ago, has gone completely mad with delusions of grandeur and occupies the full width of the plot at the bottom of the garden. I had to withdraw defeated from him, but in spite of the dead flowers there are still plenty of fresh creamy white ones making a fine display.

Queen Elizabeth is also putting on a brave face in this her Diamond Jubilee year, and so are her companions whose names I don’t know except for the Peace rose .

The fragrance in the garden was beautiful, not just from the roses but also from the honeysuckle, which has struggled out of its bed of weeds to flower bravely against the garden wall.

As I said, I lack the passion of a true gardener, but I donned my gloves and set to in an attack on the worst of the weeds, and a short hour later the difference was obvious. The sun was still shining, so out came the Flymo and in ten minutes the lawn looked like a lawn again.

This was now the obvious setting for a garden tea-party when my valiant godmother Maud announced her impending visit – she’s walking on two sticks, but steadily so, and managed the bus with no ill effects (some of the local bus drivers seem to have F1 ambitions, and especially enjoy slamming on the brakes to make as many passengers as possible shoot forward down the aisle. Whether this is to speed up their departure or simply a sadistic streak in the drivers is a moot point, but rising from your seat before the bus stops is risky to life and limb.)

Maud arrived to sunshine but alas, the moment the tea was made, the sky clouded over and the sun vanished so we had to stay indoors; but at least we had a pretty garden to look at. And Maud is truly indomitable: we must get a rose named for her!

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8 thoughts on “Round and Round the Garden like a Teddy Bear …

  1. You and I have similar attitudes about gardening. When I lived in the mountains I made a stab at it. It’s too hot in Charlotte. I’m thinking about some winter friendly plants to put in my little plot this fall. So…good for you, Cat. Looks like you did a good job.

    As always your writing is lovely and a pleasure to read.

    • My attitude to gardening is much like my attitude to food – I am an enthusiastic consumer but not such a good producer! However, this is a sweet little garden and means a lot to my mother, so that makes all the effort worthwhile.

  2. ‘ .. . . . and the oldest one of all, an Albéric Barbier planted sixty years ago, has gone completely mad with delusions of grandeur and occupies the full width of the plot at the bottom of the garden.’
    This is a wonderful description of a rose-bush. I love it! All your pictures are very beautiful. I also love your attitude to gardening. Looks indeed like you could have a tea-party there any time. A pity that because of a change in the weather you couldn’t sit outside with Maud. Is this a picture of Maud? She looks lovely.
    In Sydney we’ve come across bus-drivers exactly the same the way you describe them. Maud’s very brave to still go on buses.
    I hope your Mum will be able to sit outside in the garden often and have some sunshine to enjoy during the summer.

    • Hi Uta
      You can read about Maud in my post “Old Indestructibles” – she and my mother truly are amazing ladies. Thanks for the compliments on the garden – it’s small enough to keep “tamed” most of the time!

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