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“Don’t be ashamed to weep; ’tis right to grieve. Tears are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does, the memory and love of our lost ones is sealed inside to comfort us.”

― Brian Jacques

It’s been a tough couple of weeks. There have been tears before bedtime and laughs have been in short supply. But it has rained, and that has cheered the garden up enormously. A couple of weeks ago I spent hours watering our London garden only to stick a trowel in the earth and find that the water had penetrated no more than the top centimetre. Further watering ensued. In Broadstairs, conscious a proper soaking was in order, I left the hose on all day and still there was only a spade’s depth of moist soil.



When preparing a planting hole the earth was swallowing up four gallons and still gasping for more. It will take a lot of persistent rain to get ground conditions back to normal for the time of year. Gardeners in a similar position should beware the drying effects of the wind and drench any trees, shrubs and perennials that have been planted recently. My pots are bone dry, and that’s not good for prolonging the display of flowers or encouraging lush new growth.



The water droplets on my hostas are not tears, though they look a little bit like them. They belong to heaven and earth, temporarily diverted on their journey between sky and soil. They will wash away dust, pollution and pollen before quenching thirsty roots. I love to see them, touch them, nudge them like little balls of mercury, before they roll away or join to form larger pebble shapes. On the maidenhair fern (Adiantum venustum) raindrops tremble, clinging on to the flimsy foliage before they are shaken to the ground by the wind.

As I finish writing this post I look out across the rooftops of Broadstairs and see there is sunlight, and the prospect of happier times ahead. TFG.







Categories: Foliage, London, Musings, Photography, Plants

Posted by The Frustrated Gardener

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26 comments On "Tears"

  1. Wish we could share. We have 3-5 days of rain, one day of sun, and back to rain. Although, I pulled back the mulch to fertilize a few plants this morning, and the ground was not very wet under the mulch. It is raining right now.

  2. I’m sorry to hear that you’re having a tough time, Dan. It has rained this week but, you’re right, we need lots more. Hang in there and I hope the sun comes out very soon. Sam x

  3. Beautifully written, Dan. I wish I could send you some of the rain from us . It’s been raining heavily for a couple of days ( 80 litres per square metre in 2 days ) . So far it’s been a cold and wet spring here…Have a nice weekend 🙂

    1. That’s a shame Paul. Sounds like we both need a little warmth and comfort. I was gardening all day today and it was quite chilly outside. The dahlias really don’t like it and are growing very slowly indeed, but the display of tulips is going on and on 🙂

  4. Thank you for this Dan. It is particularly appropriate at the moment and something I hadn’t seen before. Hope you find comfort too.
    And yes, even tho it’s a beautiful evening – we need more rain!

    1. That’s maiden hair fern. In real life it is green, not lime green as it turned out on Dan’s photo.

    2. As Barbara says, it’s the Himalayan maidenhair fern, Adiantum venustum. Although I admit to using a filter on this photo, the new leaves are very pale when they emerge in spring. They become a little darker in summer, but never more so than apple green. I treat it very badly but it comes back looking wonderful each year. It simply needs an annual haircut before the new fronds start to unfurl.

      1. Thank you for answering me also to Barbara. I enjoy the lovely photos and always want to learn at the same time

  5. Ah, I know exactly how you feel, we had the first rain (10 mm on Thursday) since early March and being autumn our real spring we need to have moisture for plants to wake up after summer dormancy. I dug up my crepe myrtle yesterday, planted a year ago as a 40cm robust plant, over summer it shrunk to a mere 8, the main trunk all but dead. I put it in a pot we will see whether Ican resuscitate it over winter.
    Wishing you nice steady warm rain from down under.

    1. I hope your crepe myrtle survives Barbara. It’s such a lovely plant. I am currently nursing a Eucalyptus citriodora back to health. It looked very grumpy over winter in the greenhouse and lost all its leaves. Now, happily, it is sprouting from the base and the stem. I am going steady on the water as I suspect it does not get a lot in its natural habitat.

  6. “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” Winnie the Pooh.

    Sending you healing rains and hoping your displays stay joyful for as long as you need them.

    Love from Australia x

  7. Oh my Dan, the metaphors… so beautifully written, I had to wipe a tear away. Thx Yorkshire girl…I think Winnie was a very very wise bear. TFG, as my grandson would say, ‘hang in there bros! ‘ xxxx

    1. Doing my best Helen. I’ve been in the garden most of the day keeping everything watered and deadheaded. Took my mind off things. I too liked the Winnie the Pooh quote. Who’d have thought a bear could be so wise?!

  8. I’m glad you had some rain, Dan, even if you then had to water yourself as well. We’ve had nothing of any substance for weeks and weeks. The occasional drizzle we’ve had (over a week ago, the last bout) didn’t penetrate the surface. Of course, it’s great to have some dry weather but at this rate there isn’t going to be much of display this summer… Am waiting for rain to sow seeds, for example.

  9. I was in tears before I got to “It’s been a tough couple of weeks”.Great piece Dan and like you, desperate for rain on my desert like Greensand Way. Water from the hose is not what plants want – they need the precious stuff that falls from the skies. Time to get the prayer mats out as those of us in the South East of England are facing a big problem. Mrs. P.

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