Frown Lines

I’m in the White Garden at Sissinghurst.  I’ve come over all Bloomsbury.  I’m going to be haughty and let my frown lines show. Actually I love frown lines.  I particularly love Anna Soubry’s frown lines.  I love a woman who embraces her frown lines.  I think frown lines go hand in hand with integrity.  But…

Phloxy Lady?

Last week I posted about Phlox paniculata ‘Coral Flame’ in Boring…  But then I felt guilty for leaving out the equally fabulous ‘Purple Flame’, so I thought I would give her a post of her own too. Here she is, with ice-cream swirl buds just bursting. There are lovely tones of blue-lilac, but with pink-magenta in on the…

I’m not beautiful. I’m feisty.

This is a quote from my step-daughter.  To give you some context, we were having a discussion about someone being beautiful. ‘Like you.  You’re beautiful.’ ‘No I’m not.  I’m feisty!‘ I love this.  I love that she chose feistiness over beauty.  She is feisty.  And beautiful.  But she chose to identify as feisty. When I…

A different angle

Summer is really for just enjoying the garden. There are minor chores, if you want to call them that, but really these a pretty pleasurable: deadheading, tying in a tendril here, pulling out a weed there, eating a strawberry, sniffing a rose. I do a lot of basking.  We can call it mindfulness if you…

Origins

As this week has been our children’s half-term holiday, we travelled Up North to spend time with family in Yorkshire. On the way, we stopped off in The Peak District. I have been exposed to hiking since I was little, but never particularly valued it until I was a student at University in Leeds. Every…

Intersectional Peonies: A New Direction

Having teenaged daughters has helped me rediscover my feminism.  Writers like Caitlin Moran and Laura Bates have guided me.  A BBC documentary series called No More Boys and Girls was game-changing.  I realised all the myriad ways we hold boys and girls back and stop them reaching their own true potential.  We believe that girls…

Learning to play again

Can you remember when you were last really absorbed in a task? When you lost yourself in the pleasure of carrying out one step, and then another?  Worries floated away as you just focused on the job in hand. This is flow. Children generally achieve flow very easily. They will arrange buttons or stones just…

Contentment vs. happiness

My daughters are at an age when there are lots of comparisons.  Clothes, make-up, phones, grades, ‘likes’… Acquiring such things can bring happiness.  But does it bring contentment? Happiness is a short burst, and generally comes from something external.  Someone praises your work.  You get 300 followers on social media.  You click ‘buy’ on your…

Aging Beauties

I am infinitely more at ease with the way I look in my forties compared with my teens, twenties or thirties.  I have heard women complain that they feel invisible as they age, but maybe I felt too visible when I was younger.  Or visible for the wrong reasons.  I was judged on what I…

How does your garden grow? On optimism!

I have my mum and dad to thank for my optimism.  My mum always sees the best in people, and my dad always makes the best of a bad job.  There is always a bright side, even if you have to wait a while to see it. This bank holiday has been fairly wet, until…

Gardening is the best drug

Gardening, like love, is a drug. It’s a therapy, a remedy, a cure, a balm, a tingle, an itch that needs scratching, a rush, a thrill, a trip, a joy, an inspiration, a bolt of lightening, a jolt that starts the heart, a cornucopia of sensory delights, a phantasmagoria, a rainbow, a shimmering vision… Here’s…

My pledge not to buy new stuff

I’ve got a bee in my bonnet.  A plastic one. But it’s not just plastic.  It is all unnecessary consumerism-gone-mad purchases. I’m a bit alarmed by the Easter merchandise. You don’t need a purpose-made basket for collecting chocolate eggs. You certainly don’t need an Easter-themed hand-towel. Do you? So why are the shops and garden…