All posts filed under: garden notes

Things I Don’t Want To Know

  Now that we were mothers we were all shadows of our former selves, chased by the women we used to be before we had children. We didn’t really know what to do with her, this fierce, independent young woman who followed us about, shouting and pointing the finger while we wheeled our buggies in the English rain. We tried to answer her back but we did not have the language to explain that we were not women who had merely ‘acquired’ some children – we had metamorphosed  (new heavy bodies, milk in our breasts, hormonally-programmed to run to our babies when they cried) in to someone we did not entirely understand. Things I Don’t Want To Know, Deborah Levy We’re speeding now, towards the summer holidays. Two weeks and two days to go. And yet, there’s so much to be fitted in. Sports day, the school summer fair, the Moose’s visits to T’s school which he will start in September. Play dates and picnics and holiday preparations. It’s all fun, but it has the …


The tight buds on my Wildeve rose opened while I was away over the weekend. You can just make out the black spot too, though it’s described as a very robust and healthy rose. It reminds me of a painting by Francisco de Zurbarán which I sometimes used to visit on my way home from work. Those were the years when I walked across Trafalgar Square twice a day. Later, when I no longer made that exact journey, I wrote a poem about the painting. I loved it for its simplicity and mystery. Light and dark. Delicacy and practicality: the rose and the cup. Zurbarán’s rose, if you picked it up, would lose its petals, and in today’s drizzle the petals have dropped from my rose onto the brilliant green of the rain-wet grass. A Cup of Water and a Rose on a Silver Plate how the streaming light is frozen gracing the blown petals of the dusky rose and illuminating the rim of the plate and the dark so deep, the water pure as …

After the party

And so she is seven. It’s been a weekend of glorious weather: one day for parties; one for gardening. Twelve growing girls, and our own two small boys, ran wild in the back garden yesterday. Peg dolls were made, hula-hoops twirled, ice-cream eaten. Later, B & I went to a party of our own, and drank, and talked to friends, and stayed out in a magical garden until long after dusk had turned to darkness. And today, I planted out the sweet peas, some mange-tout, and a verbena bonariensis, watched and chatted to by the older of the small boys, while his little brother sat in the sandpit (eating sand as it turned out), and his sister devoured Ramona books one after another on the garden bench. The first vivid purple alliums are out, and the aquilegias, dusky pinks and purples, are nodding their bonnets. But now the partying is over. And I’m planning an early bath and an evening with a long awaited book.

As if we’d choose even the grief

To love as if we’d choose even the grief. from ‘Fontanelles’ in Skin Divers by Anne Michaels We spent Easter in France. Each morning I sat and read in an armchair in the bedroom while B slept, and in their room the children slept or woke and started chatting & laughing. The sky stayed clear blue; the sun warmed us through. The light was like honey. If I was a painter, I thought, we’d have to move here. I read Dubliners; I started Dear Life. I read Anne Michael’s poems in bed at night, late after evenings filled with food & wine. The children looked, as they always do at B’s parents’, more lovely to me than ever. Back home, and the daffodils are over, the tulips too. The garden is lush and green. From the kitchen the longer grass hides the patches of earth worn bare by our winter footsteps. There are bluebells. Forget-me-nots spilling onto the grass.  There are pale green leaves on the magnolia and still a few flowers. Black spot on …

All the moons in one night

  …On the gnarled magnolia, in the fog, the blossoms and buds were like all the moons in one night – full, gibbous, crescent… from ‘Telling My Mother’ by Sharon Olds, in Stag’s Leap It was the most perfect spring weekend. A picnic in the New Forest on Saturday, the sun filtering through the trees into sheets of streaming light.  Yesterday, surrounded by running children in the back garden, I looked up at the magnolia & remembered these lines from a poem I read last week. We don’t quite have full moons, but we have the promise that this will be the magical week.