Friday, 19 June 2015

Cultivated Rose

Life in the flower bed has inspired poet Liz Cowley for decades. Here are some of our favourites…

Written by Melonie
Now comes the season for a lunch outside,
a jug of Pimm’s, with friends and neighbours there,
and gorgeous plants and flowers on every side
and fragrances and birdsong in the air.
And here’s the best excuse for never cooking.
Why bother during pleasant salad days?
At last the perfect time for simply lazing –
you’ve done the planting; just sit back and gaze.
What better time of year for entertaining – to eat outside, without it always raining?
Just strolling round your garden is amazing!

I don’t want to know you,
because I can’t grow you –
I’ve done what I can and you’re ailing.
You don’t like my garden?
My heart starts to harden
if I do my best
and you’re failing.

Disaster! Roots just like spaghetti.
You dig them up, then swear a bit.
Ground elder always comes to stay.
You know you won’t get rid of it.
Spaghetti roots are everywhere.
You dig them up, and bitterly.
You know you’ve got enough out there to cover half of Italy.
Spaghetti roots – impossible –
and most of them you can’t remove.
So if ground elder’s in your place, there’s only one solution. Move!

I’m outside in my dressing gown –
I often am at half-past seven, when plants are sometimes waking up.
To me, that is a time of heaven.
The builders on the roof next door were once surprised to see me there,
amazed to watch me pottering in slippers and with unbrushed hair.
Thank God they’ve learned to look away,
accepting there’s a nut next door who’s up and out and not yet dressed –
they don’t look startled any more.
They do their own thing, I do mine –
they glance at me, then look away.
I’m glad they have accepted it –
the way I like to start the day.

Many people soon despair
when faced with a north-facing space.
But lots of plants will be contented.
For plenty, it’s the perfect place.
You may complain about the shade,
but several stunning plants don’t care –
ferns and hostas, they’ll both love it,
and skimmias will do well there.
And, if there is little sunlight,
gooseberries, cherries are for you,
and epimedium loves shade
and gives you great ground cover too.
Plus garrya will be quite happy,
content against a shady wall.
No reason to hide tools away,
no reason, none, to cry at all!

Foxgloves, what heart-warming plants
with gloves to put upon your fingers!
Each time I see a foxglove now,
that childhood memory always lingers.

Slugs – the nastiest of bugs,
each one a spineless jelly blob.
There’s something ugh about a slug –
thank God those pellets do their job.
But how I hate those melting blobs
I find at dawn around each pot,
and picking, flicking each one off
is not a task I like a lot.

Fuchsia blooms – like ballerinas in tutus,
dancing all day long
as soon as there’s the slightest breeze
or when a high wind comes along.
A corps de ballet on each bush,
a mass of dancers – heavenly!
They’re always great performers, fuchsias,
and get a huge encore from me.
Fuchsias, artistes, ballet stars –
more lovely than most plants I know.
On breezy days I step outside
and then sit back and watch the show.

Do you have a poem about your garden? Please send it to us at the usual Bedford Street address or by email to editors@lady. for possible inclusion in our 24 July double issue.

Outside In My Dressing Gown And Other Poems For Garden Lovers, by Liz Cowley, is published by Gibson Square, priced £9.99

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