Sunday, 21 August 2016

The lonely particle

Dear Monty,

It's rare that I post 2 letters to you on one weekend,
but having heard a piece of music entitled 'The Lonely Particle' on Radio 3 yesterday morning - it hit a spot within me which produced a series of thoughts - stream of consciousness if you like. I share this not because it is a great or clever piece of writing but because it is the only way I know how to  release it from within.

We are all built of particles, elements, salts, fluids.
Within this mysterious biology is a lonely particle on its journey through time and space.
Deep within us it seeks to be connected to something that shines
That is not dulled by other elements
Or faded
Or broken.

How can this particle find its home
Its rest
Its target
Its completeness, in a world of forced separation and violent disintegration perpetrated by human against human
Blood for blood
Bone for bone ?

Though remote from the horror they sit in fortresses and palaces
Foreign or familiar.

Oh where does this end ?

Look to the end of violence in the violence perpetrated by men against a man because of the light contained within him.
The lonely particle finds its home there.

Have no time for organisations
For man-made systems of control.
Have no time for hierarchy
For those that Lord it over you - who find your place for you and keep you there.

Have no time for fragmentation or disintegration
Find the light and stay in it
Shelter in it
Be held in it
No harm is there
No brutality
No hate
Not even my hatred
No partiality
Not even my partiality
No judgement
No, not even mine.


Today I read how Helen MacDonald described her encounter with a goshawk in an article in the Guardian - 'seeing the goshawk .....was the start of my education, the start of understanding the difference between knowing something and feeling it deep in your bones.'

For me that describes the journey of the lonely particle, sometimes it bumps into the light.


Saturday, 20 August 2016

Having wind in the garden

Dear Monty,

Do you suffer from wind ?

I'm suffering from a storm of names swirling in my head.

Vlinderhof ?


Piet Kingsbury Maryberry


My name


My black back garden





Wind in my housen

Wind in my Garten

Are you smiling smugly in your hedged haven ?

My small garden is wind whipped today in contrast to a whippets rest in sunshine just at the start of the week.


Sometimes in my eyes - satisfying

Sometimes annoying.

Gardens remind me of Isra -el

I struggle with the power in this life-force.

Slash cut clear

Grow flop fear

Is it good enough ?

It's good enough for me

But it could be better.


Monday, 8 August 2016

Pish to thee Monty

Dear Monty,

Again I say pish.

I was scorned for planting bedding begonias (2 quid a tray from Homebargins) in some of my pots and borders. I admit to panic buying them shortly before opening for the NGS in June.

I had little colour in the garden, which under normal circumstances wouldn't bother me that much but I felt obliged to offer just a little.
Some - who shall be nameless - mocked my efforts. Deservedly so - it was a rushed and mad idea which really wasn't me , or so I thought.

But pish ! I now like them because they are picking up the red of the new flame -tipped growth of the Norway maple, and just look right ! There I said it.

I know you have been down right rude about begonias Monty - and it seems this may be one of the rare occasions when the co - maker of The Veddw agrees with you.

In life it seems so much easier to accept the infinite variety of taste.

I like saying pish.


Sunday, 24 July 2016


Dear Monty,

The truth is we are all losing, perhaps that is why we get so angry with the world ?
Loss is a painful thing.

We lose time - we cannot slow it or stop it.

We grow older day by day second by second.
We lose vitality and function,
We lose lovers, friends, parents, siblings.
We cannot hold on to any material thing.

The garden is lost once the hands that created it become infirm
I lose plants to viruses,
And the view is lost to trees.

So how should I cope with the knowledge of loss ?
Live as much as is possible, appreciate that what we have is passing through our fingers. Appreciate relationships, friendships, souls.

I have to let go - even of all the things and people I love
I let go of hills, butterflies, blue sky, flag irises, trees
The sun
And stars.

Your thoughts are higher than mine
The hills will burst forth in song
I lose myself in peace.


Saturday, 2 July 2016

Where the weeds grow

Dear Monty,

As you know I opened the garden under the National Gardens Scheme last weekend.

It was a positive experience on the whole, apart from one visitor who suggested that if I was to open next year I should do some weeding.

Perfection is not resident here in this house, garden or soul.

Weeds are now a part of my vision of the imperfect perfection.

I do not strive.

The light made me change direction - sudden light which lit up blues and greens, yellows and purples. There were bees and birds - a chorus of approval. What was before me in this garden was imperfect beauty. 'Weeds' made up the tapestry of colour and fed the bees with nectar.

The thing is, all types of garden can be perfection in our own minds eye, but the bee is less discriminating and the butterfly needs its weeds.

I love gardens of all kinds.


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

I know it - but do not speak of it.

Dear Monty,

June has been a frenetic month both in the garden in terms of growth and in my life.

Rosamund Davies visited the garden on the last day of May - perhaps it was the anticipation of the visit and the gnawing doubt about its ability to speak the message that I have been trying to carve out in it - that made my dreams the night before so vivid.

Dreams are another landscape - another life not of the material. A strange level of existence outside of all things tangible.

We dominate this earth - we have grand visions and great ideas all of which begin within our soft encased brain - all electricity, fluid and synapse.

Our lives are miraculous, strange and awesome. God be in them even if we are unaware of such an existence - or whether we know the name or where the presence dwells.

Perhaps the name should not even be uttered.

Back in the land of the living - this tortuous land where we hear of such violence - perpetrated on behalf of one name over and above another.

I have grand ideas - but do they truely translate in this small space ? Rosamund says yes ! Monty - what do you think ?

In celebration I purchase 3 figures by the sculptor Rebecca Buck they now welcome you in to the cloister garden. Rebecca has a small garden with a big impact - it is full of her earthy sensual sculpture.

Do not despise the day of small things.

In Hay on Wye I listened to an expert on the Quran - followed by a discussion about Landscape Gardens by yourself, there was beauty in both.

Is it not strange that we - being all interelated decide that one culture is superior to another ?

Does humility, passion and a word used by the first speaker - grace - have any role to play in life in these days ? I think they do.

Finally I was invited to visit Rosamund's garden - a park of 8 acres - a vista and a garden, with herbacious border, rose pergolas and wild meadow and woodland. I could not stay long enough to fully appreciate its sense of place.

Then on to The Veddw - a garden with a special place in my life and experience.
I have learned much - and continue to learn on this strange journey.


Saturday, 28 May 2016

Nant y Blodau Bach

Dear Monty,

Yes gardens can be whatever your idea of a garden is.

I see them as an opportunity for creativity.

I have been looking more closely at the natural 'gardens' of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path and the lush hedgerows.

They are truly inspiring. In some places peoples gardens spill over into the hedgerows with a natural blending of natives and introduced plants. Nature does a good job of gardening. What is noticeable though are the areas where farmland grasses border with the paths - and there is much less diversity here. The grasses are green and lush with few native plants. Perhaps this is due to nitrogen ?

There is an example of hedgerow and garden blending on the front wall of the cottage we stay at called : 'Nantyblodaubach '- yes John Kingdon that is how it is written !

I did a poor sketch of it - but it is enough info to inform a new fresco.

The cottage sits on a quiet lane leading up to Carn Ingli.

Moving cattle on Carn Ingli

An Angel stands - arms outstretched just for a moment
He stands above the landscape
Ancient, fixed in time.

The scoop of sea below is like a love spoon carved by the tides
The Norman Church and ancient keep held in its haven hollow.

There is a song of skylark and blackbird mingled with sheep and bellowing cows
Reluctantly herded up the hill.

Newport market morning
Swallows chatter
We walked the curve of the estuary
Sensual curve
Ducked, goosed and swanned.


The landscape pounds beneath my feet

Dyffryn Fernant

Dyffryn Fernant is a garden that emerges out of a natural wet area and the wild plants merge into intentional planting. Some areas near the house are formal but mirror the hills behind.

A place of respect.