Buxom borders?

 English gardens.
National Trust Garden Book

Here's a silly observation, which may or may not mean anything. The male writer of my 'National Trust Gardens of England' book is forever describing the herbaceous borders he sees as 'buxom'. Hmm... I'm not so sure about this. So how does one describe a herbaceous border in full floral summer glory? Perhaps 'Rubenesque' has a slightly more classy feel to it...


I'd prefer a much more mundane word - like 'chubby'. But this is a timely reminder to garden writers as to the hidden power of certain adjectives. Imagine, for example, if I said I had a virile Shrubbery? What on earth would people think? Don't answer that! Anyway, I'm much more likely to describe it as weedy...

Sunday 3rd August

Best to get back to me and my garden, I think, where (as usual) the adjectives 'well-meaning' (me) and 'messy' (my garden) spring to mind. The morning rain has eased - high time to continue my winter clean-up. I actually enjoy doing this, and I'm lucky. My winter garden is rarely snow-bound (cross fingers), and rarely so cold as to impair digital dexterity. A bit of wet is OK - some fresh mud to add to the dried patches on my gardening jeans and shirt.

 One of the early Prunus trees
Wet Plum Blossom

On a personal note, I am trialling a 'skin miracle perfector' with sun-screen, having decided that my ever-blotchy gardening face now needs protection from the winter sun as well. Non-Gardening Partner has one week to notice and make a positive comment that I am more luminous. Not voluminous, luminous, thank you very much!

 Dripping in the rain.
Cinammon Cindy Camellia

Three Hours later...

Phew. Just as it started to rain rather heavily I finished spreading my load of compost. All the rhododendrons in the Driveway Garden should be pleased with me. My circuit also involved dumping the Wattle Woods mess by the bonfire, and barrowing all the wet ash from the bonfire over to the side of the Allotment Garden. Plod, plod, plod...

And I've made an executive decision. This summer I am allowed to call my garden voluptuous, since this rather luscious adjective implies an pleasant, over-all quality, and does not conjure up images of enthusiastic barmaids or bawdy wenches. While the adjective de jour is 'gaunt'. It's winter, after all!

+5Oops. Luckily for me, Rusty the dog cannot read my gardening journal. We have just been to a Border Collie kennels to meet the parent dogs of our potential new puppy. Rusty, we still love you forever! You are not being put aside for a younger model, we promise.

 Dear Percy!
Percy the Ginger Cat

Monday 4th August

What happened? I went for a huge swim, I did a huge grocery shop, I came home, lay down in the sunny cottage with my book (and cottage cat Minimus) - and I fell totally, deliciously asleep for three hours.

Zero Gardening

And so I did zero gardening, on a blue-skies clear and lovely gardening day. Oh well. Today's garden adjective is 'neglected'.

At dusk, feeling extremely woolly in the head (and very guilty) I wandered out to the new path to place the final edging logs. Here I found ginger Percy, his fur the deepest, richest ginger colour - a trick of the fading light. But what a handsome, ornamental cat he is. His gingerness is a stunning contrast against the evergreens in the Shrubbery, too.

  1. Prune all the roses over the water race.
  2. Add to bonfire mess and burn.
  3. Plant the new Agapanthus by the new path.

This is my list for tomorrow.

Tuesday 5th August

I've had a brilliant day. Seven hours work, and every minute of it enjoyable. Yes, I've pruned roses, as well as planting irises, raking leaves, mulching the surface of the new Shrubbery path, and breaking up some of the large rotten tree rounds. The Agapanthus plants are in position, and I've shifted the big tea-pot. The bonfire is burnt.

Tea-Pot in the Periwinkle

I've been thinking. An appropriate adjective for my winter borders is 'sluggish'. After all, things are resting, hibernating, deliberately not using up any energy. But aargh! Such a dreadful image. And a sluggish gardener would be even worse. A buxom gardener? Let's not go there...