As you can see the garden has had a dose of winter this weekend albeit short-lived with the majority of the snow having melted by Saturday lunchtime. I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed that it was too cold to do anything outside as all I wanted to do yesterday was hide inside. I have been overcome with a tidal wave of grief which has crept up on me unexpectedly during the week, just like when you don’t notice the tide coming further up the beach. It left me feeling emotional and close to tears for 48 hours not an ideal state of mind when you have to go to work. It took a while to identify it for what it was, going through all the usual others things, dismissing PMT, depression, concern about changes at work etc. No it was grief, cold and hard and something you just have to accept and wait for it to pass.
I have been getting on with life over recent months, being busy, since Dad died and although I think about him a lot I have felt I was doing OK. But grief has a habit of creeping up on you and engulfing you when you least expect it. I suppose I am lucky in that I learnt to recognise and accept it for what it is about a year after my sister died thanks to a wonderful counsellor. This time it was a book that bought everything to a head. A beautifully written book, if the first chapter or two is to go by, H for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. The book is about the author training a Goshawk but it is also about her coming to terms with the loss of her father. Needless to say it starts with her reacting to the news her Dad had died and I suppose it struck at something deep down because I kept obsessing about one paragraph, where they are looking for the father’s car. I can’t even talk about the story without crying but then again I don’t think that is a bad thing because I believe it is better to let these things happen rather than fight them. We do more damage to ourselves with the British stiff upper lip approach.
So the only gardening I did this weekend was to move things around in the greenhouse. Rejigging the pots of bulbs so that those emerging have the best light and the late summer bulbs, such as nerines, are moved under the staging to rest for a while.
Sunday has been a better day. Having recognised the grief for what it was, had a good cry, I woke up feeling like my old self again and ready to battle on. I have been decorating the hall, landing and stairs, which means endless gloss work which I can doing in stages. So after tackling some of the bannisters Mum and I went out for a jaunt to Ashwood Nurseries which is just over an hour from here. My boss had given me some garden vouchers for Christmas and I had earmarked them for some more hellebores and some spring flowering shrubs. A lot of research has been done in recent evenings and a mental wish list drawn up.
The choice at Ashwoods is extensive and always so well displayed. I realised I have only visited at this time of year, the last time for a hellebore talk, so I must try to visit again through the year but if this is the quality of the display in early January I can only imagine how wonderful it will be in a few months.
I came home with 3 hellebores – Anna’s Red, Neon Star and Walbertons Rosemary which has been bred to look upwards, 3 heptica nobilis, a clivia and two dwarf rhododendrons that are part of my new planting plan for the border you can see in the second photograph.
We had a nice lunch, a laugh, talked about Dad, grief, glosswork (Mum is decorating too) and strangely bought a resin tortoise (a gift for my Aunt!). We are going back in March for my birthday so Mum can treat me to something, probably for the border above.
As for the book …. it is safely back on the shelf waiting for such time as I feel more emotional able to read it.