Behind Every Great Man…..

This morning I e-mailed a drawing to a fellow blogger as an offering to illustrate one of his posts.

While I sat in the car waiting for Jackie to emerge from Tesco with a fortnight’s shopping that I would load into our vehicle and into the kitchen at home I finished reading

Lent to us by Giles, this is a truly inspirational book charting the despair following a catastrophic turn of fortune partly brought about by physical- and mental ill-health; a loving relationship and the struggling creativity that, phoenix-like, surmounted disaster and contributed to remarkable success.

Depression, anxiety, unemployment, severe physical pain, all experienced while raising a young family are all honestly described. Sub-titled ‘A Story of Despair and Redemption’, this work is about the emotional turmoil the writers have experienced; it is also a tutorial on planning and planting a stunning garden; a journey through the seasons and the effects of sunshine, light, water, and soil. The constantly repeated cyclical patterns of each year from gloom to brightness and back again could be seen as a metaphor for the couple’s journey through life.

In his dynamic media presentation of such as BBC’s ‘Gardener’s World and in his writing Monty Don has been the public face of this partnership. Sarah, however, in their collaborations, of which this work is one, produces equally eloquent descriptive prose. I must refrain from giving away any more detail but ‘The Jewel Garden’ supports the phrase ‘behind every great man there is a great woman’.

Finally, I would suggest that anyone – TanGental, for instance – planning a garden event at any particular time of the year would do well to read this book.

After lunch I finished pruning the poplar, the chopped branches of which, supplemented by a few more of Jackie’s rose clippings, filled another bag for recycling.

I managed to knock this dahlia from its stem while wheeling the barrow of poplar cuttings. Never mind. We have an accident pot indoors.

Petunias still proliferate,

as do the ubiquitous Japanese anemones.

Today’s roses are represented by a pink carpet variety; a paler pink Generous Gardener, planted to scale the lopped cypress; and Shropshire Lad, bearing the freckles formed by raindrops.

This pink gaura is the most successful we have tried in this garden; the white begonia has always delighted.

Just one hollyhock bloom has so far resisted adding to a column of seed pods; clematis Julia Correvon has shed her colourful petal-like leaves.

At the end of the afternoon Jackie finished trimming the lawn.

This evening we dined on plentiful scrambled egg on toast.


  1. That book should be an inspiration for these days. While people complain about every little thing – take a look at people who had real problems!

  2. Thanks for this book review and recommendation! Looks like a great read!
    I love when a man and a woman love each other, support each other, work together, help each other, etc!!! πŸ™‚ And gardens, and gardening, truly are healing…as you well know. πŸ™‚

    The rose freckled by the rain is wonderfully beautiful!

    Eggs and some form of bread…always a winner!!! πŸ™‚
    HUGS!!! πŸ™‚

  3. That dahlia is stunning, especially seeing it first thing on your post. And I agree with Luanne about Jackie–definitely a hard worker–but with a great smile!
    The book sounds inspirational.

  4. Jackie’s smile is lovely!
    Thank you for the book recommendation, Derrick. It is one I have been meaning to get for a while having enjoyed Monty’s “The Complete Gardener”.

  5. It looks like a very good book. I’m looking forward to learning more about them and the garden series. Your color pink themes are lovely.

  6. Ik gedraag me netjes … Maar, om alleen al zo`n antiek, versleten & verslonden anticiteit in je handen te hebben, te besnuffelen, na te kijken wanneer de eerste druk was en waar, dat is een hoogstandje van genot voor mij …
    Vandaag hoorde ik op tv iets over de Engelse dichter, toneelschrijver en schrijver Oscar Wilde … Hij was in de verkeerde tijd geboren en stierf op zijn zesenveertigste. Dan schrik je even: Hij was Gay. Ja, hij kreeg stokslagen … Stelletje Zeikers! Je komt ze overal en in alle tijden tegen … Nou ja …
    “We liggen allemaal in de goot, sommige kijken naar de sterren,” Oscar Wilde, deze bleef hangen en als we dan even quotes googelen van Oscar komen we alles van hem tegen. Ook al had ik géén Engels in me pretpakketje op de Moeder-mavo … * Amsterdam, 9 september 2020 * *

  7. The cyclic nature of life is a given: sunrise/sunset, the cycle of the seasons, the rising and falling of generations. I’ve made a note of the book for winter reading. I think it will be a good one, even for a non-gardener.

  8. Eggs are good for any meal!
    And the book sounds great.
    I actually thought of you last week

    The Crown came on a list as an option to watch and I skipped it –
    I remember how you shut it off

  9. I wouldn’t judge a book by its cover but I could see the trials and tribulations of the authors captured in that book just by looking at it, perhaps because you put it so comprehensively in your brief introduction. Gardening calls for unwavering patience and it offers lasting solace in turn.

  10. It is beautiful even if you knocked it down. Sounds like a nice day. We have two more nights to get through to see how frost damaged everything gets here.

  11. Beautiful flower photos again… and a happy gardener. Thanks for sharing. I love the ubiquitous Japanese anemones… wish they would grow here in s-w Montana! <3

  12. Gorgeous flower beautifully captured. That was quite a simple meal compared to your usual feast, Derrick..but probably just as good. No Vino with your eggs?

  13. An “accident pot!” I love it, ha ha. What a great tool Jackie has – no bending and breaking of backs. I’ve been working a lot with decorative river rocks lately, and I’m sensitive to backs right now.

  14. The flowers are still looking great. Loved the photography of the dahlia despite your regret in knocking it off its stem , the Japanese anemones and the white roses

  15. What a gorgeous collection of pinks, purples and everything in between. Simply stunning. Jewels themselves I would suggest? The book sounds special too. It has been duly noted, thanks, Derrick.

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