Last night I watched The Constant Gardener which I enjoyed for its langorous pace, great photography, and the appearance of the inimitable Ralph Fiennes. I am actually a very inconstant gardener, but a quiet Sunday was a chance to make good.
In fact after several weeks of neglect and some typically English weather (rain, sun, rain, sun, rain) my own patch is absolutely flourishing: things are blooming that have never bloomed before; things are growing that have never grown before. Well, that’s what I thought, but with the test match (good grief, when did I get interested in cricket?) ticking along on Radio 5, I thought I would take a closer look, and all was not as it seemed. My roses, coming to the end of a second flush, are under attack from all kinds of worms, visible and otherwise. A magnolia growing to a fine stature turns out to have leaves reduced to a filigree by unknown predators. In between all of this mayhem, weeds and brambles are taking hold.
It took about an hour to to clear out a lot of undergrowth and sprinkle around some noxious blue pellets. Job done, at least until a gardening friend can advise on my sick roses.
Can I find some way of making this a reflection on writing? Aha, got it! Gardens, if left to their own devices, will usually grow. Novels, on the other hand, stay just as you left them. Or is that a good thing?