Saturday, 13 October 2012

Wearily reclaiming the wilderness

This is a miniature member of my phobic 'enemy' tribe.

He/she has been nesting? webbing? inhabiting a corner of (I must stress, the outside ) of my sitting room window for a couple of weeks.

Amazing but true, I have found myself each morning after the previous night's gales or deluges, checking to see that the 'creature' had survived, and breathing a sigh of relief to find it well and in situ.

Either I am going completely gaga, or I'm starting to get to grips with my life-long fear, horror, phobia of the eight-legged beasts.

Beyond it, you can see a worm's eye view of my once lovely (I thought), front garden. It together with the only fractionally larger back garden has suffered severe neglect during the three years since John's death.

At first I had no interest - in that or anything else - and later, two awful winters followed by a busier life led to a slowly developing wilderness.

A few weeks ago I suffered a sort of epiphany, when a good friend invited me to go with her to Highgrove for the day.  Suddenly my long dormant love of gardening surfaced and the resolve to rescue my poor 'briar patch' was born.

Since then, we have had torrential rain on most days, and on the few days when I've been around and have had time and energy to work outside some other more pressing duty has taken precedence and only a few
brief 'sorties into the interior' have been risked.

The last couple of days have seen a more determined effort emerging and at last, I'm beginning to see shrubs I had last seen a couple of years  ago beginning to appear from the undergrowth.

Like my father, I am a totally undisciplined gardener, and I have only to see something which really appeals to me and I never give up until I've acquired one, whether or not it  is deemed suitable for my soil or geographical location.

This is not as haphazard as it sounds, and has often produced something truly spectacular, if alien, and has been quite a talking-point in days gone by.

It is cold windy and rain is again threatening, but this morning I have cut back a huge shrub rose and weeded around it, dead-headed roses, buddleia, and a still blooming thalictrum,  The garden is still full of colour and I know if I can only stick to my resolve, will once again become my pride and joy with the advantage of having something in bloom every day of the year.

It is even possible that I may find the courage to venture into an area which I know to be inhabited by quite large spiders.

Courage is not, notably, one of my virtues (if there are any), but at this late stage I am still hoping to grow some.


  1. I love this, Ray!

    Re the spider: y'all are getting used to one another. It happens. Glad it's staying outside but also glad you're recognizing it as your neighbor.

    Re gardening: You know that a little at a time (and plenty of time) is all it takes. I'm glad you've been re-awakened to the joys of tending/acquiring/admiring the flora.

  2. You haven't chosen the best of years to rediscover your love of gardening, Ray, but I wish you success and satisfaction in your endeavours. Surely it must stop raining soon?

    As for the spider outside the window, we get them all the time both here and in France. Spiders outside can help to desensatise us to the idea of spiders inside - but it doesn't happen overnight, I'm afraid.

  3. Hi Ray, my mum is going through just what you describe. She lost my step-father very suddenly earlier this year just 3 short weeks after we moved.

    She is battling with a large garden that totally overwhelms her and with the bigger jobs in the house that he used to help with. It is heartbreaking to hear her talk and be over 4000 miles away able to nothing to help.

    Thank you for sharing this and for giving me hope that my mothers love for gardening is hidden whilst she grieves. I hope and pray that she can find her way forward as you have.

  4. Life is funny isn't it Penny. When the spider was curled up into a ball I was suddenly concerned it might be dead, yet as soon as it moved, my hair stood on end again.
    So far, despite frost last night, it is still with us.
    I did have two separate attacks on the garden today and I'm still alive to tell the tale, so who knows, more tomorrow?

  5. I wish I believed it would stop raining soon Perpetua. As you say, not the best of years, but, if I leave it another season it will be beyond rescue.
    Spiders outside are one thing, inside - quite another.
    I will continue to evict anything with more than two legs as soon as I spot it, but perhaps, in time with a little less fear.

  6. Hi Shona. I am so sorry to hear about your mother's loss.
    The first little while is very hard to deal with but given even just a little help (and I had lots)
    things slowly become more bearable.
    I too hope she regains her love of gardening. It is very therapeutic to be surrounded by growing things, and the rewards when something beautiful appears are immense.

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