The Refugee Gardener, who really hasn’t been looking well for quite a while, turned up yesterday with a diagnosis: something foul on the lines of Lyme’s Disease (though not that, we would have recognised the name since an old and valued friend fell victim to it a decade ago). He will have to spend 48 hours in hospital being pumped full of antibiotics whilst being monitored, which is rotten luck. At the same time, it is a great relief to our mind, since he has been visibly declining, and a diagnosis — of something treatable — is terrific. One of the perennial problems with employing a working man whose sole capital is his body, who isn’t quite well, is negotiating through not just what he can and can’t do, but what he will admit to being not able to do. Anyway, for the time being I am on my own with the borders, and for once, with good weather and a bit of time at my disposal. I spent a lot of yesterday and today riddling out ground elder and planting new stuff, while much remains to be done. Above all, I need more, bigger, and grander architectural foliage. More people look at my borders out of first floor windows than by walking about in the garden: I think I should be trying to give a lot of the available space and resources to dramatic leaves. Silver-grey, lime-green and brownish-crimson leaves break up the overall effect in the most wonderful way, especially if they are also varied in shape and density. I love flowers as much as ever, but all my purchases this season are based on the subjects’ leaves. All those roses I bought last year can do duty as floral interest, should this be necessary. It has been a wonderfully hopeful day. The first day, here in these northern latitudes, where the sky showed a white, dusty opacity of real heat. Not spring, summer. After a miserably prolonged winter, it is a glorious moment.

One Response to “Tilth”

  1. The Man From Maryport Says:

    TNews of the RG’s condition and diagnosis sounds both troubling & reassuring, as it were - at least the medics have it in hand. Please pass on best wishes for a rapid and full recovery.

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