Bounty of a Julian Conquest

The secret gardener has spoken
and the conquest must be chronicled
the glory saluted
the splendour celebrated
or else
who knows what she might put in my salad?

So, here’s the truth
of how the land lies.
The anniversary rose
was among the first to rise up.
It’s gone into hiding for now
but will come again.
Its barricades are arrayed
against the north wall
south-facing and constantly pacing itself
for another year.
The piazza and pond
were surprised by the spears of scirpus
and the imperial purple standards 
of the moated flag iris
and were surrounded
by noble regiments of
Their banners leave no doubt
that they’re here 
because they’re here,
because they’re here.
Even when they’ve gone
they’re not going anywhere.
Honour them.
The triumphant dahlia has taken her throne in the capital
we'll come to her; 
please note that
the southern borders
were overrun
by untamed wildflowers
and mercenary partisans.
Clematis in a cascade 
of purple paratroops
falling to
plant their root boots
among the foot soldiers of
oxeye daisy 
and oil seed rape.

(Whisper it but the wetlands saw raiding parties of semaphore flies signalling their intentions to unreceptive mates.)

Semaphore fly, it’s wing-tip flags ready to signal its desires.
To the west
beneath the orchard
the hosta
hold the shady ground
by the field hospital
where lemon balm
stands by for those who
need to stomach it
and canular chives
proffer garlic serum
having long since
gone to seed
in pyrotechnic starbursts.
Boxed in to the east
trumpet their victory pennants
high above the cosmos
and shoulder to shoulder with
and reinforcements of
more hosta and geranium.
With dismissive
stiffly wagging
they point with hypocritical prudery
at the audacity
of the wild nipplewort.
There are hinterlands
where we do not apply forces,
between the apple trees, 
for example,
where lines of advancing grasses
are never mowed down
and run amok
beneath the hammock
and in the shelter 
of the hazel trees
where the forces
formerly known as weeds
reclaim the ground
that was always theirs
just outside the Bani-shed
where I blast out old rock
wild strawberries 
gig again.
Play it loud enough
and they will come.
(Keep it quiet
but we know leaf-cutter bees
have left 
tell-tale lacerations
meaning that somewhere 
they’ve made
secret bivouacs behind partitions
under ground.
Careful what you say:
those walls have ears.)
The unspoken garden
has an oval heart
now beating with
more calendula
and another galaxy of
Calendula & Cosmos
This garland
to my mind
is always
the secret gardener’s
crowning glory.

This year she feels
the castellation is a little rebellious 
with peaks in unplanned places
but that’s horticulture
I suppose.
The Oval
Command what you will
survey the land
plan your campaign
dig your trenches
build your borders
plant collaborators
extract insurgents
and you may have some victories
however triumphant you may be,
in the fullness of time
nature always takes back
all that you have gained.
All a bit military you might say, 
but the forces in the garden do not care for your sentiments.  
They come, they spore, they conquer.

Lughnasadh or Lughnasa is the final of the four primary festivals in the ancient Celtic calendar. The others being Samhain (October), Imbolc (February) and Beltane (May). Lughnassadh is celebrated on 1st August and marks the first grain harvest of the year. Its Christian usurper was known as Lammas a word derived from loaf-mass.

We have not harvested wheat, but we’ve had baskets of strawberries (domesticated), buckets of rhubarb, mugs of blackcurrants, pans of beans (broad and now French) and there are strings of onions spicing nicely. 

The potatoes were fewer than hoped for and had only hobbit proportions. The tomatoes are putting on weight and blushing, the lettuce keeps coming and the herb pots are trying, though some species could do better. 

The cherry tree was stingy but gave a little more than last year. The apple trees have done their ‘June drop’ to cast off their self-nominated rejects, and look much more fruit-bulky than last year.

The hazel duo have gone full camouflage - so densely you can't see one for the other.  Nuts are forming, but they'll be gone before we can get to them. The foreign blighters in grey squirrel suits will see to that. 

Earlier missives:

More spore wars can be found in:

take a look here:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s