Flanders Poppies die where they fall….

Sturdy, stocky and weather hardened; Farmer Crocker gives me a wave as I pass his Farm gate. Plump and rosy hued heathers bloom where he stands and a thought crosses my mind- do we become to look like our plants in the way that we become to look like our animals? Farmers in my village whose families have worked the land for generations know exactly what will grow and what plants have adapted to this windswept, wet location and they plant low, tough hardy plants which will withstand the wind and weather.

Where as I (a new-comer of only 30 years), still plant as though I had never listened to good advice. It I were to be a flower I want to be a willowy Delphinium with petals the colour of a Summer sky, or  a peppery scented Lupin with blue and white pods with colours borrowed from a willow pattern plate. And I plant these flowers each year in the hope that the wind will never rise above a fragrant, soft and gentle breeze.

So each Summer, when a wind blows in from the South West with gusts strong enough to break the glass in a metal framed greenhouse I am usually to be found, tear stained and forlorn, tying up my delicate flowers to stakes. If you had visited me last weekend that is exactly what you would have seen. An angry wind strong enough to lift the door into the roof space and tear the roofing of my sheds tore over my garden, gathering strength as it passed the miles and miles of wilderness that is Dartmoor. Many of the Flanders Poppies, grown to commemorate the bravery of all those lives lost in the First World War,  fell in the path of this wind. It devastated whole areas and tore the heart out of the garden and I wept for each plants struggle for survival as it was blown horizontal by the gale.

When I could stand it no more I drove into town for a late supper, dining late, and feeling reckless, giving up for one evening on all that I believe in, which is the commitment to tending my plants.

And when I got home…the wind had stopped.

There would be more than enough time tomorrow to inspect the damage, to mend the broken and help the plants to heal. Then, as though this had never happened I will put seed into compost to grow more flowers to replace those who fell, just like the old soldier of a gardener that I have become.


10 thoughts on “Flanders Poppies die where they fall….

  1. I know it is so disheartening to battle the elements, and I can empathise with your despair … and very glad it was temporary.
    Love the analogy with the soldiers

    • Thank you so much.
      When the flowers suffer I suffer too……
      You will be pleased to hear that my circular pond liner arrived yesterday for my new Jardin- inspired corner of my garden!

  2. Hi Karen,
    I agree with Jardin’s comment. I empathise with your heartache. I am glad you have bounced back quickly. I hope that you take photos of your new pond. Have a great Friday.

    • Thank you so much Honey. I feel it is my responsiblity to protect each plant and of course Poppies are so very fragile. Still, as you said at the time it was not as bad as it could have been.

  3. Seeing what happened to your garden is so sad, so disheartening. Yet I have to be glad of the good that came of it–you bounced back (as your garden will) and showed great resilience. And you turned the terrible situation into an excellent post that will inspire yourself and others! They say, “an ill wind blows nobody good” but you turned this ill wind into a triumph!

  4. Thank you so much Kerry. It is worth the effort staking and defending the flowers and vegetables and as you suggest, this incident was the inspiration for the post. I suppose it is all ” grist to the mill” in the artistic sense. I also thought that the flowers which went to compost did have a certain heroic beauty.

    • Thank you Gretchen. I have read that because we are living for longer, we will all have many stages in our lives where we close the door on one life and begin another. I suppose it is the natural way of things.
      I do hope you are resting a little.

      • I think that is true. I have had a number of lives this time around. I am doing very well and I feel healthy. Yes. I have been walking a lot and it so strengthening. I thank you for inquiring.

  5. Fascinating thoughts. We are the plants we plant! Hmmm. In that case I am a bulbous bell pepper, that which dangles plumply in the early morning light. Either that or the ever winding pole beans which seem to adorn my cedar lattice in summers gone by…. What ever. I like bacon! That was random.

    Blessings to you, Karen.
    Have a great day!

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