On Course


I am on a course this week in the salubrious environs of Hunton Park in Hertfordshire. Sadly the once magnificent grounds leave much to be desired, but I am not here to learn about gardens. The course is teaching me to be a hot-shot negotiator and, despite grave misgivings, I am really rather enjoying myself. The formalities last for 12 hours a day and we’re forbidden to take calls or open e-mails during that time. It’s all rather strict, yet liberating at the same time. I haven’t spent this long without using WiFi since I went to Bhutan.

Dahlia 'Twyning's After Eight' combines fine bronzy foliage with sparkling white flowers, occasionally tinged pink

Quite how my new found negotiation skills will ‘land’ with Him Indoors and our prospective builder I do not know. I feel sure Him Indoors has no desire for his partner to return any more assertive than when he departed. The builder won’t know what’s hit him.

But our tutor has no clue when it comes to negotiating with plants. I doubt he’s ever had to coax a ginger plant into bloom, or coerce a climber to grow in the right direction, let alone persuade cuttings to root and seeds to germinate. I do know for certain that I couldn’t teach him how to in three days, three weeks or even three months. Thank heavens you cannot reason with plants, it would take all the fun out of gardening.

Today’s images have nothing whatsoever to do with the course, they are simply to remind me that there’s more to life than negotiation.

White erythroniums, Bosvigo, April 2014