Oh gosh, Penelope, let’s put on our flowery wellies and dainty cotton gloves and skip into the garden where we shall accomplish a bit of light pruning before scones for tea with lashings of clotted cream!

What awfully jolly larks!

Penelope, my imaginary English gardening friend, has a perfect complexion, a comprehensive knowledge of horticulture, is stalwart and regular in her weeding habits, and knows exactly where, when and how to prune the triffids. She emerges from her light exercise glowing with health, her garden all tidied and ready to trip daintily into spring.

I, on the other hand, am currently bundled up in bed exhausted, chilled to the bone, back aching, clothing so muddy it can’t even go in the wash without first going in the wash. Meanwhile, the garden, in the manner of Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi, remains stubbornly unvanquished.

My nemesis?  Forget-me-nots and buttercups. And brambles. I turned my back for a mere instant to write a book, and while I napped (sorry, worked my fingers to the bone) the rest of life got completely out of hand. Bills piled up, letters went unanswered — and in the garden, legions of ruthless weed bastards marched in to choke the life out of everything good and pure and true. Neglect has left the peonies in the shade, the roses anaemic and the anemones listless.

Better check the rest of the family.


11 thoughts on “Tra la, tra lee, a gardener’s life for me.

  1. Tamzin 8 years ago

    My favourite way of dealing with the bastard weeds is to get some bark chips, or some nice dark compost, and just smother them. Then the garden beds look very neat, with just the new green leaves of poppies (or whatever plants I’ve chosen to spare from the soil-suffocation method) poking out. The only trouble is, I think I’m just feeding the weeds with a nutritious blanket of soil because they tend to come back bigger than ever….. Still, it looks fantastic for about a week.

  2. Annabel Pitcher 8 years ago

    I’m impressed you’re even attempting to garden. My husband and I were thrilled about our new house until we realised that meant we had to do all sorts of dull irritating things like mow the lawn and weed the flower bed and something else bollocks to do with the patio that apparently needs drainage or else it will flood in the manner of that time Noah lived in when God was a bit of a murderous bastard. Since becoming a home owner, I have learned lots of new words like grouting and ply wood. Bleurgh.

    P.S I’m another of Catherine’s authors and a big fan. Nice to say hi at last. My first book’s out Tuesday.

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      Congratulations on your book! Hope it’s a huge success…..

    2. Meg 8 years ago

      p.s. Saw it prominently displayed at Waterstone’s today.

  3. Mik 8 years ago

    Anaemic anemones would have been more alliterative. Or bungled beetroot. Chaotic carnations? Last one to zonked zinnias is a sissy!

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      Who’s the writer here Mik?

    2. MIk 8 years ago

      Of defo you.

  4. Kirsten Baron 8 years ago

    Just let it go and call it a wildlife garden. That’s what I do (but then I love the Forget-me-nots).

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      How do you think it got like this in the first place? Forget me nots and all. I love f-m-ns too — but there comes a point at which they just look like neglect.

  5. Maria 8 years ago

    Unrelated but hopefully complimentary to you: laid low in bed today with some sort of virus, the only thing I wanted to (re)read was How I Live Now. I find it comforting in a fairytale like way..

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