Blooming Marvellous

It’s a fine spring day. Sunshine and showers. Tulips, wallflowers and muscari blooming in the garden and a mass of feathery fluff from the pussy willows at the end of the road blowing every which way. It’s the time of year when gardening begins to compete with writing for my attention. I love planting things and seeing them grow. I love the force with which shoots of delphiniums and peonies and rudbeckia pierce the earth, the urge for life that makes them rise so irrepressibly from the cool, dark earth and the joyous sense of the world being made anew. I dare say it’s a cliché, but there really is something miraculous about the way a tiny, hard grain can sprout into something as gorgeous as a nasturtium or geranium or sweet pea.
Last year, I grew vegetables for the first time. My success was mixed. I did well with potatoes, tomatoes and courgettes, but the onions failed to fill out and the bugs and slugs made short work of my lettuces and carrots. The beans got off to a slow start, then suddenly took off and rambled all over the pear tree, with the result that I had to risk life and limb climbing right up to the top of it to collect my crop. A couple of years ago, I bought a Victoria plum tree. So far, it hasn’t borne any fruit, however this year, to my delight, it’s been covered in a mass of creamy blossoms. I know there’s still a long way to go before I can expect bowlfuls of delicious plums and it’s still possible there’ll be a late frost, but at least it’s got off to a good start.
As well as flowers, I love the wildlife that the garden attracts. The plum blossom brought an early influx of Peacock butterflies and we get a terrific range of garden birds – blue tits, chaffinches, robins, blackbirds, magpies, wrens and even the occasional green woodpecker. The pond has played host to newts, frogs and water snails. Of course, the garden has its challenges as well as its pleasures. The soil here is very heavy and full of clay and it’s a job to keep it soft and crumbly. It tends to get water-logged in the winter, while in the summer it has a propensity to bake into hard, concrete-like lumps if it isn’t kept well irrigated and mulched. The one upside is that roses love a clay soil, so I can always count of a good display of those if all else fails.
One of the nice things about gardening is that if something doesn’t grow well one year, you can start again the following year having learned from past experience. And if something really fails to flourish, there’s nothing to stop you trying an entirely different plant that’s better suited to that particular spot. There isn’t a patch of ground on which something won’t grow – it’s just a question of finding the right something that will flourish in the conditions you have. I think writing’s like that too. If something doesn’t work, then you just have to keep on trying alternatives until you find what it is that does work. Sometimes a story just doesn’t seem to come together and it’s only when you come back to it much later that you can put your finger on what’s needed to make it come alive. Like a shoot sprouting from a seed, the richest, most compelling stories grow from the germ of an idea in ways that are surprising, unexpected and never less than miraculous. If you’re lucky, a strange and magical alchemy will take place that transforms chains of letters and words on a page into something truly beautiful.

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8 Comments

Filed under Art, Film, gardening, Screenwriting, Writing

8 responses to “Blooming Marvellous

  1. I have just wandered through your garden and have climbed that pear tree to collect green beans, even though I haven’t taken one step away from my screen. Thank you. And keep on breaking up that unresponsive soil and checking those seeds you have been nurturing. I have no doubt the fruits and flowers of your labours will come into full bloom …

  2. Thanks for this, Julia – I’m glad you liked it.

  3. Great post Veronica. Spot on in every way. Oh…and lovely to meet you by the way

  4. I love this and it was very engrossing. I feel the same way about Spring, about life and about writing. I would have loved to see some photos of your garden interspersed with your words too! Thanks for following my blog. Nice to meet you.:)

  5. Tom

    I agree with Cheryl on including a couple of photos of the garden with your post. Now as I’m sure I might have said, I’m still in the learning process with all this blogosphere stuff, but if you don’t mind (and in the absence of an email address), I’d like to help make your already good posts, better – if I can.
    In an effort to make my posts look good and to attract attention I do a handful of things with them.
    1. When in the draft stage, there is an option to include ‘media’, which is right above the text box and title. It gives the opportunity to add a photo from your computer.
    2. I try to use a unique title, but you’ve already got that sussed I reckon.
    3. I try to start the post with a hook; a bit like a story or article, which it is.
    4. Keep paragraphs small, and if necessary, go back in to the original draft and edit, using the return key again if needed, to produce white space between paragraphs. A big block of text can be off-putting, even if it’s good subject matter, but broken up into lots of small paragraphs with some white space; it works.
    I’m not worried about the notification thing now, because I’ve set myself a schedule to visit all the blogs on my Blogroll (including yours). I’m expecting to see a fantastic post on your next visit. LOL

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