The Comeback Kid

I have made it part of my mission this week to follow Head Gardener round on one of his tours of the grounds and impart my gardening wisdom and opinions, whether they are asked for or not. I have included this photo of one of our roses, not because it is the most beautiful, but because it is the most comforting. We only have three roses here at Hargreaves Towers. The other two are my Roy Castle Rose and a white one that was supposed to be a climber but has stubbornly remained at base camp despite verbal threats and Morecambe lifting his leg on a regular basis, which I would have thought would have encouraged it to grow upwards if only to get away from the smell. Anyway, the third one is the Comeback Kid. This is our Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree. If you don’t know the story of Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree you can look it up on YouTube or something. I also think that Friends shamelessly stole the story so you might be able to see it there. Anyway, the Head Gardener picked this up at some garden centre for 50p. (despite my best advice) It didn’t look very well at all. There was one tiny green bit on it and the rest looked like it was as dead as a dead thing in a half price dead sale. But this year – roses. Lots of them. Of course, I come from a religion, that thrives on comebacks and the longer I live, the more I see that makes me believe that anything can be recovered from. So I asked Head Gardener, who is pretty smug about his success to stop smirking and tell me what things he had put in place to ensure the Comeback Kid had the best chance of recovery.

  1. Put it in the right place. Try and keep it safe from pests including Morecambe (Lucy doesn’t wee-wee up things – it’s a genetic fact) In short, give it the best environment possible.
  2. Feed it well. This takes a bit of investment. (Rose feeder – Wilkinsons – £2.49 on offer – bargain!) but the time and the money is worth it.
  3. Keep things gentle for a while. Watch it in frosts or scorching sun. Don’t expect it to be able to take everything that is thrown at it straight away.
  4. Expect the first recovery roses to be a bit weedy but don’t lose heart. This rose probably wouldn’t win any awards but keep doing the right things and the next set will be stronger.
  5. In the end though, you put everything into place but it really is down to the rose. The right conditions are important but it has to actually do the recovery thing itself.

You are probably way ahead of me but these are good principles for anyone in recovery from any trauma – physical, mental or spiritual. Surround yourself with people you trust and know care for you and if you don’t know enough people to actually be surrounded by then ask your closest friends to do their best for a while. Watch what you are feeding yourself with. You know as a Christian, I know no better source than the Bible but as well as that, keep away from the stuff you know drags you down. Be gentle on yourself. If at first you don’t succeed and everything.. If the first signs of recovery are disappointing – it doesn’t matter. Keep going. But in the end it is up to you. People can support. God intervenes. But it will take your commitment and effort to get back into the sunshine.

On a less edifying note. Head Gardener has an anti social habit of getting rid of snails by picking them up and throwing them over the wall. This is anti – social both for the snail and any poor person walking past. Anyway, all his chickens came home to roost this week when one of his snail projectiles just missed a neighbour. He thought of trying to get out of it by playing innocent and pretending the snail had either jumped or been dropped by a passing seagull. In the end grovelling just about got him out of it. He’s too old for all this delinquent behaviour.

Challenging website of the week. This lady does the cleaning in 15 minutes a day. I do cleaning but could never get it done in that time. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t factor in stopping for a slice of lemon drizzle like normal people. Thats probably it.

On a personal note. My niece is now a bona fide holder of a degree. Congratulations Jessica.

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