In which Elvis Costello sings to me every time I go into the garden…
I feel as if I’ve slipped into a parallel universe at the moment.
My garden has decided to put on an incredible show of flowers – mostly roses – without me having anything at all to do with it.
I must recommend this hands-off approach to gardening – it is certainly producing better results than I’ve ever achieved through hard work and heavy expenditure on plants.
Ten years ago, when my eldest daughter started school, there was a little chap who sold plants to raise money for the school funds, and I bought half a dozen rose plants from him – they were incredibly cheap, and looked quite sickly when they arrived. My hopes were not high.
But over the years, they’ve bloomed and bloomed and bloomed.
A couple of years back, they got out of control and started to branch out across the garden. It made doing things in the borders, like pulling out the occasional weed, or retrieving a ball, fraught with danger – these roses have proper thorns.
So eventually, the husband decided to take the secateurs out and give the roses a haircut.
We deliberated. Should we go in hard and hope for the best, or should we be tentative and shave the minimum off the branches? In the end, having agreed we’d already had our money’s worth from the plants, we opted for the drastic reduction route.
He duly took the roses almost back to the ground. We sat back to see what would happen. (I’d secretly decided to treat myself to a few David Austin roses if the old ones failed).
And lo and behold – they’re better than ever before – all of them.
Now of course the husband says it’s all because of his expert pruning. But my friend who gardens for a living, tells me that everybody has a good show of roses this year – it must be the weather.
Who knows. But the damned annoying thing is that every time – and I mean every time, I go into the garden, I am instantly assailed by the sound of Elvis Costello singing the Jerry Chestnut (what sort of name is that for a songwriter?) song – A Good Year For The Roses, running through my brain.
I used to be a huge Elvis Costello fan – well about thirty years ago – eeks! But I never especially liked that record. I’ve tried going outside and whistling Oliver’s Army, but it doesn’t cut the mustard.
I suppose I’ll just have to wait it out.