Working with Monty Don (a dream, obviously)

Went to bed very late, as usual (a sinful habit I don’t seem to be able to correct). Woke up several times in the night, as always. The last awakening came for a good reason : what was happening in my dream troubled me enough to be cut short. Yet, it had started very nicely.

Get ready everybody : I was trying to convince Monty Don to introduce in his weekly Gardeners’ World program a regular chapter featuring a French garden (I mean a garden situated in France). Here comes the funny bit : I was hoping to be in charge of that section. Yes, me. For my French readers, who might not be acquainted with the Gardening High Priest : my discovery of Monty Don’s program, some years ago.

The first thing I remember was a brainstorming session, somewhere in a dark basement room, which involved a lot of men (and me) sitting on one side of a long table and making suggestions while Monty was standing on the other side, under a yellow lightbulb. An odd liturgical setting. I don’t know by which transition Monty and I ended up sitting in a café which looked more like a hospital refectory – naked walls, everything pale and bland. The light, however, was strange, white with a slight hue of blue. This observation didn’t come to me while dreaming. It is only now that I realise that light was a cue to what happened next.

So there I was, pitching my project to a smiling and somewhat sceptical Monty Don. He was polite, he was handsome and, although he didn’t say a word about my proposal (at least I don’t remember him answering), I felt optimistic. Then, his son appeared, a young Mediterranean-looking boy aged between 8 and 10 (more likely to be his grandson !), and we had a little chat in French, which left me very impressed. Monty left with his son.

I went out, probably with the idea of going home.

Where there should have been a town, my eyes met a vast stretch of shallow water. It was as if the pale blue light in which we were bathing had taken shape and weight. On the rocks which had become the shoreline to that newly opened sea, people were gathering, wondering how to cross. Then, a small and light white plastic boat was brought to me by a Chinese or Japanese woman whom I knew in my dream. I lowered it to the water, rocked it in order to get rid of the puddle collected at the bottom, and embarked. The boat sailed away quickly, and suddenly we were moving along a Mediterranean city’s coast (grandiose hotels shaded by magnificent palm trees). I enthusiastically told my husband about my potential collaboration with Monty Don. To my surprise and dismay, he didn’t look happy at all and answered : “So you don’t want to be a teacher, then ?”

I felt so sad, or cross, I had to wake up. And a good thing, too : my husband is, in real life, very supportive of my projects, even though they don’t benefit the household financially, and doesn’t deserve to be portrayed as in my dream. What came out of his mouth, in the dream, was my own anguish at the direction (or lack of it) my life is following.

I believe the vast stretch of shallow water, mysteriously materialised, was a regular feature in my childhood dreams. I lack the words to describe the feeling of wonder and awe which came onto me when I recognised it in Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.

Granted, there is no valuable point to all this, but as Monty Don doesn’t grace me with a nocturnal visit often enough, I thought I would record this dream. 😉


The top picture comes from here and the bottom one, from this article in The Times.

Quick update. (And about rose-tinted glasses.)

The rain and the cold have arrived.

The Katsura maple is a deep purple colour. The Osakazuki is very slowly reddening. Redwine lost all its leaves some time ago because of mildew, but has lots of buds. Acer Shirawasanum Aureum is looking quite ugly as its leaves are scorched.

I still have a wall of pink and white cosmos at the back of the garden.

I have planted all my alliums, the snowdrops and the muscari. I follow the advice of waiting for Novembre for the tulips as it worked quite well last year. The sea holly and the bearded irises haven’t been delivered yet (and I heard on Gardeners’ World that you should really plant bearded irises in September…).

Auntie Shelagh’s rose has decided to flower again, so have the Anémones de Caen.

Don’t feel like blogging at the moment. I mean, I would like to write something else than “Me, my feelings, what I think of it all”, but don’t have time to do any research (when will I be able to write that post about Gotham City and Minas Tirith and other fabulous cities ?). I didn’t want to write a self-centred blog, but it’s just what I end up with as I need time to write about any other subject.

A friend said I sound harsh on myself in my posts, but I am just harsh on everybody and I am not a fan of rose-tinted glasses. I don’t think one deserves love or respect just when one is nearly perfect. People should be able to be realistic or honest about themselves without being suspected of self-loathing. I think rose-tinted glasses are a sign of weakness or low self-esteem. It’s like this crazy belief some people have that they actually deserve their good luck… but no, I am not going to write about that now, I still need friends. End of the cheap psychology paragraph. 🙂

Will add pictures when the camera comes back, it has apparently been borrowed by one of my husband’s students (??!?).

I am not miserable, I just need more sleep.

A la découverte de Gardeners’ World.

Varicelle, quand tu nous tiens ! Hélas, la mauvaise humeur de ma fille me condamne à rester assise dans le fauteuil – si je vais dans la cuisine, ça râle, si je vais dans le jardin, encore pire.

Je viens donc de passer deux jours (ou trois ?) à regarder des épisodes de Gardeners’ World sur la BBC.  Ma nouvelle idole est donc Monty Don et j’en viens à me demander comment j’ai pu vivre tant d’années sans lui. Pour ceux qui ne le connaitraient pas (je veux dire pour vous autres mes compatriotes, car il est impossible qu’il se trouve un Britannique qui ne connaisse pas Monty Don), le présentateur de cette fameuse émission de jardinage de la BBC – que dis-je, de cette institution nationale – est un grand type bien bâti, bientôt sexagenaire, et heureux propriétaire d’un magnifique jardin qui doit faire 100 fois la taille du mien. Wikipédia m’apprend qu’il n’est pas un jardinier professionnel, mais qu’importe, puisqu’il prend merveilleusement la pose, un pied sur la pelle, le visage buriné juste ce qu’il faut, à la manière des cowboys des pubs Marlboro de mon enfance. J’oublie le chien au poil luisant installé à ses côtés, prêt à bondir à sa suite le long des allées.

Enfin, ce n’est pas pour son look que je le regarde – ah, si seulement j’avais su plus tôt que faire de mes tulipes après la floraison, ou comment réunir les conditions idéales à la culture des agapanthes !

J’espère, cela dit, que l’humeur de ma fille va rapidement s’améliorer, car j’arrive à la fin de la série et n’ai aucune intention, malgré les supplications de mon fils (ou ses ordres), de regarder les courses automobiles.

En attendant d’avoir plus de liberté de mouvement, je rêve des plantes que je devrais recevoir dans une dizaine de jours et qui, je l’espère, arrangeront l’aspect désolé de mes parterres où se dressent lamentablement les tiges des tulipes dont les fleurs ont passé. En voici la liste, pour le plaisir d’égréner des noms de plantes, auxquels je trouve une qualité musicale (et puis c’est rigolo comme un semblant de latin donne au jardinier débutant et ignorant que je suis le sentiment de faire partie du club) (et tiens, cette phrase me fait penser à une amie féministe, quel est le féminin de jardinier ?) :

Brunnera macrophylla Jack Frost

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Astilbe Rheinland.

© Royal Horticultural Society

Heuchera Beauty Colour

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Hosta June. 

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© Peter Laughton

Hosta Clifford’s Stingray

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© Peter Laughton

Helleborus Blue Metallic Lady

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© Peter Laughton

Hepatica Transsilvanica Blue Jewel

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© Peter Laughton

La plupart de ces plantes ont été choisies pour leur feuillage. Il me semble que choisir une plante pour ses feuilles et non plus pour ses fleurs est un signe de maturation pour un nouveau jardinier. Je m’autocongratule donc. Je sais que je serai moins fière dans quelques temps : certaines de ces plantes sont les mets de choix des gastropodes haïs qui se fichent ouvertement de ma figure.

N.B. Je précise que les photos viennent du site où j’ai acheté les plantes (y compris mes érables).

P.S. Je crois avoir trouvé le titre du blog. La photo d’en-tête est d’une allée à Mount Ephraim’s Garden, un merveilleux parc pas loin de Canterbury.