Monday, 27 July 2015

Best in show

It was a tough job, but the rosettes have been handed out and here are our top five garden-poem entries

Poet Liz Cowley’s witty, humorous poems about her own garden appeared in The Lady last month and alongside a readers’ poems competition. Liz cast the deciding vote and these are her five winners.

The Fragrant Garden
June, sweet-scented fills the air
with fragrance drifting everywhere.
Lavender, peonies, blowsy rose
add frilly pinks, clove-scented
Those, are most delightful of all.
Yet one which scrambles up the wall
is honeysuckle's rambling sprays,
Perfumes the gardens through the days.

Alice Hutton, Finzean, Banchory


GardenPoems-Jul24-02-176Garden Battle
I hate our leylandii.
You stand glowering over the landscape
all fifty feet of you hogging my view
destroying our boundaries
Scars from past battles proudly
displayed on your trunk.
But, then, defiantly, two or three pioneer
branches, thrust forward once more
waving in the wind.
Yet. I love our leylandii when
sheltering, cooing, courting wood
pigeons. Love hidden from view in your
sanctuary.
Blackbirds singing sweet as
the sun climbs higher
mothers drop worms into beaks
outstretched.
For it is summer, and until autumn
there is a truce between leylandii
and me.

Christine Charnley, Barton

Poppies
Sweet meadow señoritas, all unwise
dance vibrant and alive beneath the sun.
Too boldly gazing up into his eyes,
they bloom and drop before their day
is done.
A swoon of scarlet ladies blush and fall
their fragile stems too weak to bear the
weight. Of heavy, drooping heads – their
petals sprawl. And lustrous, dark-eyed
faces bow to fate.
A bitter price to pay for flirting, so.
No more to blow a kiss then turn away.
Red satin dresses, lying in a row. Black
stamen castanets no longer play.
Yet even while the lessons barely learned
more budding beauties' petals have
been burned.

Dorothy A Crossley, by email

Disease is rife
Disease is rife in every corner
of each garden bed.
Black spot, mildew and botrytis;
soon most plants are dead.
Lily beetles, caterpillars,
gooseberry sawfly, too
aphids, wireworms, pollen beetles;
it's like a mini zoo.
Just when I think I'm winning
the battle with the snails,
those hardy plants which have survived
are flattened by the gales.
So, instead of laying concrete,
why do I persevere?
Because I always live in hope
of better luck next year.

Miss V Hemsley-Flint, Sittingbourne, Kent

The Meadow
Meadow, lush in summer's spring
adorned by nature's loving touch
with buttercups and Lady's Smock,
clover, dandelion, and such.
May blossom hides the blackbird's nest,
chaffinch flit from tree to tree,
the cuckoo far away is heard
and droning past, the bumblebee.
By the shady hedgerow lay
a dozen cosy, drowsy sheep
and over by the five-bar gate
there stands a brown mare half asleep.
A sunny day, an hour to dream
is what a weary soul doth crave.
Meadow, treasure of childhood joy,
is adult's sanctuary, and grave.

Eileen Williams, Rushden, Northants

Liz Cowley's Gardening In Slippers And Other Poems For Gardeners, is published by Gibson Square, priced £9.99.

Our other entires...


A Gardener's Reward
Winter's Box, Fatsia and Holly bring colour and architectural form to the sparse garden.
I watch the birds on the feeders.

Spring shows itself with Snowdrops, Bluebells and bright pink Camellia.
Cowslips invade the lawn and the birds remove the moss for their nests.
I watch the birds on the feeders.

The Clematis follows, painting the arch and fence with pretty blooms.
I watch the birds on the feeders.

Late June is my favourite time.
Ladies Mantle and hardy Geranium flowers lace the borders; they dance round Gertrude Jekyll, Brother Cadfael, St. Swithun and Winchester Cathedral.
Birds in the wood behind serenade me as I rest after gardening.

Poppies and Foxgloves attract the bees and Honeysuckle creeps along the fence with its evening scent.
I watch the birds on the feeders.

The longest day after sunset is a joy.
I sit as the iridescent sky fades, watching first the Fox family, then the Badgers feed and play. As darkness falls a Barn owl glides across the garden silently.

Late summer brings the richness of Sedum, Japanese Anemones and Lavender. Agapanthus decorates the terrace.
Pink Phlox with their evocative scent reminds of childhood.
These are lazy days to sit and listen to the bees and watch the dragonflies.
I watch the birds on the feeders.

Autumn tiredness after the second blooming, the border eventually dies down.
Leaves in garden and the wood change into yellows, golds, reds and maroon.
I watch the birds on the feeders.

After leaf fall, bright yellow Jasmine flowers are sprinkled over the bush as a last flourish of the year as I watch the birds on the feeders.

Anne Elizabeth Holbeche

GardenPoems-Jul24-03-176There's a corner of my garden
There's a favourite corner of my garden
That's my favourite place to be
I snuggle in my comfy chair
And think that I am free.

A fir tree tall towers over me
And makes me feel so small
That sometimes I pretend
I'm not really there at all.

In my imagination I'm in
Some far flung land
Playing on the beach
Or digging castles in the sand.

When summer sun caresses me
And keeps me snug and warm
I look around my garden
And admire my new mown lawn.

The flowers in my border
Each smile as if to say
We hope that you appreciate
Our colourful array.

What bliss to muse, to dream,
When not a word is spoken
As not long now I know
The silence will be broken.

For there's a corner of my garden
That's my favourite place to be
And from the kitchen comes a voice
"Mum, I'm home, so what's for tea."

Anne Solti, East Preston, West Sussex

Our Blessed Plot
Our Garden isn't one to take a prize in anything,
Yet in our eyes it gives us joy to see it flourishing:
The Honeysuckle climbs the arch
The clematis flourishing near
The roses too are clamouring
They shine from year to year,
At their feet the lilies
Give a golden glow and
Some new gazanias,
Whose stars complete the show.
Just by them the bird bath
What frolics go on there
When the birds have had a drink
They shower everywhere!
There's lots of coloured pansies
Whose faces seem to say
"So nice to see you gardener,
Are you joining us today?"

Eileen and Sid Abrahams, Chertsey, Surrey

Snowdrops
A string of peaks upon the lawn,
Iridescent in the dawn,
Shimmering in the morning dew
They give the eye a heavenly view.

Heralding a fresh new spring-
Simple, pure pleasure they bring,
White bells with untouched grace.
A spangly web of antique lace.

The sun picks up each dainty flower,
Fine droplets from a fleeting shower
On petals sparkling like ice-
What pleasure, beauty and delight.

Their musky, honeyed perfume
Enlighten dark corners of the room,
Heads bursting forth from frosted earth-
Snowdrops, proclaiming rebirth.

Elisabeth C Fearn, Farnham, Surrey

The Garden at the Forge
As I look out at the garden so much I see
Reminding me of friends near or from afar.
The Shamrock grows, a gift from James
Who is of Irish stock, and Joey his Scottish wife,
They've missioned among seamen most of their lives.
The hellebore is now in flower, I am so glad it's flourished
I brought it back from Gorsley about two years ago
From Pat and Beryl's patch, so was anxious to see it grow
The periwinkle came from Charles
Who has long since departed.
Muriel's iris flowers in the summer, It's booms are brilliant blue
Tucked in a corner where trellised Montana flower with varied hue
Holly Lodge Lilies, Honeysuckle and Rose, Delicate Ascantia and Phlox
Add to the pleasure of eyegate and nosegate, with fragrance not easily forgot
Then in a tub lavender grows, given by granddaughter Emma
T'was nurtured inside, on the sill with great pride
With much perseverance it's grown strong
And now it is bringing the bee's all a-buzzing, a buzzing, a buzzing along
There's so many more flowers
With stories to tell
Of lovely pink thrift from the shore
Of large poppies red – of Sandringham pinks
What a unique wealth of Friendship I think

Ruth Hill, Cumbria

My Personal Paradise
June in bloom
Ascot hats sublime
Strawberries and raspberries luscious
And very delicious
My semi-wild garden overflows
And all day simply glows
June in bloom
Morning sun sublime
Peonies and old roses glorious
With perfume joyous
An English summer
Intoxicating simply paradise
A myriad of petals, fragile and pure
Nature's creativity on song
Exotic gigantic blooms always raise a smile
June in bloom.

Margaret Ann Wheatley, Smarden, Kent

The hedge that was a bush
A hedge that once was two foot high
Stands over eight foot tall
For seeds that from the garage beyond
Have blown with the wind from over the wall.
When we came there were only two tangled bushes,
Between them bearing crab apples and remains of a thorny rose.
We removed the fruit and pruned the rose
Until the garage took over, sometimes unoccupied.
Like Topsy, every year, the hedge grows!
We've a garden wall at the side, providing shade,
Handy for the loganberry and gooseberry bushes,
Also for the plants and ferns that are displayed.
No landscape gardener can be found
To scale the next door wall to take the foliage away
So as I write, I gaze once more
At the ever-growing hedge that seems here to stay.

Mrs Ann Furly, Brighton






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