Between two opinions again !

Dear Monty,

I battle with my own hypocrisy - this is the greatest struggle I have in my life.
Perhaps we fight too much ?
Portraying ourselves as dragon slayers instead of fighting with the spirit of peace.

The clouds break over the coal tip garden.
I suppose I am looking for a balance between wilderness and garden - certainly it has become wildlife friendly - which now includes rabbits who are nibbling the tops off Chinese cabbage.

Here is the rub - if I want to limit my use of pesticides and fungicides then I have to take the rough. Even the chickens are destructive if left out too long in this small space.

As the clouds lift the gloom dissipates.

I need to paint again - flowers, butterflies, mountains ? I will trawl through memories, sketches and photographs.

31/5/14  Last day of May, humid and overcast. The wettest May since 2007.

Pests begin to mar paradise ! Thrips, leaf miners, brown spot, black spot, rust, greenfly - all seem to love humidity.

Leaves curl brown and drop off the apple tree.
I could get depressed about it or begin a rain of sprays and mists - or just see which plants just overcome and bulk up on them next year - simplify. I can already see which are free.

On this day an article by Alys Fowler is published in the Guardian about thinking kindly towards nature's pests. I try and rationalise my murderous thoughts about the leaf eaters - only to be reminded of the blackbirds and mistle thrush feeding in the borders, the blue and great tit taking aphids and caterpillars from underneath leaves. Not forgetting the work of frogs, toads, newts and the hedgehog.

1/6/14  Flaming June - fire and whispers.

Drawing becomes drawing after it has been removed from its setting, and looked upon as something in its own right - not just a representation. Like making a garden it becomes a construction, it takes on a structure and depth of its own which is not always found in the original subject or design - in other words it has an abstract quality.

Pembrokeshire hills re-worked


Dyffryn Fernant

Fire brings destruction, a burning up - drama followed by silence. Whispers continue, they remain - a thread of whispers - a still small voice with the power of the Almighty behind them. The 'great' has its effect for a short time - memory fades. We forget greatness, we are unable to maintain it, even if we follow creeds or doctrines, instead we try to maintain a veneer of obedience.

But we are no longer whitewashed sephulcures. Obedience now is acknowledging our failure - to hold up each others  hands - to come along side and hear the whispers - the still small voice, still because it rests in a rest beyond philosophy, beyond religion and beyond our understanding.

Perhaps I'm a snob. I find that I have moved on from what I thought I knew about gardens. I admit that I am no longer inspired by grass rectangles surrounded by narrow linear borders insufficiently wide to contain the plants that are initially dotted along its length, but at the same time I am a hypocrite in that this is how I started, and we all start from somewhere. Perhaps we need to experience the exuberance of plants for ourselves - when our planned tidiness turns into a kind of chaos !

More and more I see making a garden as sculpture - limiting the exuberance  here and allowing it there. No longer worrying about weeds and tidiness (to a certain extent ! for this see blogs: and ).This is why I love mown paths through tall grass. I cannot have a meadow in this small space but just a nod to one is enough.


Meadow - not

more chaos

Perhaps I'm a deluded man Monty ? A fool perhaps. What kind of man sees a small bumblebee land on the page of his journal while writing - and  as he watches it cleaning itself he feels so incredibly humbled by it - so much so he sees in it the beautiful brevity and melancholy of life - a kind of joyous sorrow.

I am a fool, do you join me in this foolishness - could we be a community of fools ?



  1. For creatures like rabbits, moles, voles and squirrels I would suggest letting a cat move in (not sure about chickens though). Resident (relocated and territorial) cat has not only stopped the regular hand in the earth to find a dollop of ... problem but has invested heavily in creature education. Now no problems.

    Insect pests are happily dealt with by the bird population (who have an arrangement with resident cat - they don't bother him and he doesn't bother them apart from a mutual animosity to magpies and sparrow hawks). Hedgehogs and nematodes feast on slugs. Snails are remarkably co-operative in climbing up trellis and clematis to eye height (or they settle happily in the middle of cardoon leaves) awaiting transfer into my little bucket of salt water. (Get two at a time for the satisfying plink-plink-fizz).

    I don't worry about the demise of plant eating pests, though. After all, plants have feelings too and they're more friendly!

    1. Sorry John I was slow to see that I hadn't responded. I have a whippet who loves to chase things - so far he has failed to deter the rabbits and thankfully fewer rats this year. Love the plink plink fizz!


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