The Glory of the Garden
“Well, Bobby. This is our first weekend without football for months. We are off to Wembley next weekend, but today we had a committee meeting and a party in London. Both cancelled due to Covid. The weather is forecast to be glorious. Why don’t we go somewhere beautiful. Somewhere to lift our spirits. Somewhere to experience the glory of an English garden. How about the garden at Nymans?”
And so we did.
The sun shone in a clear blue sky. It was warm enough for a summers day. And Nymans is famous for its spring blossom. Particular its Magnolias.
It’s hard to put into words how breathtaking Nymans was just a couple of weeks ago. Two weeks in which the glorious spring has reverted to freezing winter. Reminding us of the fickle nature of spring and the need to enjoy it when the chance comes.
The Glory of the Garden
Our England is a garden that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by;
But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.
For where the old thick laurels grow, along the thin red wall,
You’ll find the tool- and potting-sheds which are the heart of all,
The cold-frames and the hot-houses, the dungpits and the tanks,
The rollers, carts and drain-pipes, with the barrows and the planks.
And there you’ll see the gardeners, the men and ’Prentice boys
Told off to do as they are bid and do it without noise;
For, except when seeds are planted and we shout to scare the birds,
The Glory of the Garden it abideth not in words.
And some can pot begonias and some can bud a rose,
And some are hardly fit to trust with anything that grows;
But they can roll and trim the lawns and sift the sand and loam,
For the Glory of the Garden occupieth all who come.
Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing:—“Oh, how beautiful!” and sitting in the shade,
While better men than we go out and start their working lives
At grubbing weeds from gravel-paths with broken dinner-knives.
There’s not a pair of legs so thin, there’s not a head so thick,
There’s not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick,
But it can find some needful job that’s crying to be done,
For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth every one.
Then seek your job with thankfulness and work till further orders,
If it’s only netting strawberries or killing slugs on borders;
And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden,
You will find yourself a partner in the Glory of the Garden.
Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardener’s work is done upon his knees,
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray
For the Glory of the Garden that it may not pass away!
And the Glory of the Garden it shall never pass away!
Lighting a Candle for Diddley and for Anne
“On Mother’s Day 1966, Ralph took his children out to choose a Magnolia for their mother, Anne. It had 4 buds, but flowered in the garden several times a year in the garden at Bishops Avenue. And it grew and it grew!!!! Even as Anne was in hospital with her final illness, photographs were sent to her of her beloved Magnolia. To her it signified the coming of spring, and all the optimism of a new season. Now her neighbours send a photo to Hugh and Felicity of the Magnolia each year. And Ralph and Anne lie sprinkled beneath it sleeping peacefully.”
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