Zen And The Art Of Planting

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Recently I upgraded my pond.

I had some leftover plants and stones, so decided to make a small rockery with them.

This is my story.

I spent ages choosing a location, a border stone, and a shape. In the end I decided to put it in the front garden so there could be plants where there were only chippings before, and people could see it as they walked past. The decorative black stones are used for paths around here, and are lovely when cleaned up. These had been in a pile under a bush in my garden, so I scrubbed them with water and they came up like new. I wanted the rockery to extend from the planter, which is actually an old sandstone chimney pot, one of a few in the garden.

I hate it when plastic is put below the ground, to slowly decay, turning the natural into artificial. In another house I discovered sheets of it under the soil, and you can never get it all back out again. I cut away this rubber underlay after removing all the top chippings. This can restore the connection between plants and earth.

People lay this crap under the ground to stop plants from growing. Humans have deforested most of the UK (possibly up to 70% forest once: now about 13% and dropping, for various reasons). Our culture needs to do everything to encourage plant growth, not halt it, and that goes down to the smallest scale. Every garden paved over for a driveway, every meadow lost to housing estates, every wetland that has a motorway or airport churn it up, it's all part of the same problem.

Cutting away the last bits.

I decided to create an entrance area too.

I added soil from when I'd enlarged the pond, plus some compost (and a bit of sand went on top).

These were sandstone cores I'd found. I scrubbed them, dug holes, compacted the soil around them, then relaid some red chippings.

Time to start washing pebbles to lay on top of the rockery.

I arranged some large white rocks, then placed the small plants. Note the buff over my mouth - I get hayfever, but wearing that means I can go cycling or be in the garden playing my guitar even on fairly high pollen-count days.

The final touch was using an old piece of sandstone as the top of the stone gate. That's the official entrance for hedgehogs, toads, and fairies.

The rectangle of light is a reflection from a window.



A close-up of the entrance. Does it count as a folly?



I can see the rockery from my office window. One of the plants already has more flowers on, and they have started to spread out. I look forward to seeing their progress over the years as I write more books. Thanks for reading!

Where next? You might want to follow me and my work, or even buy my books. Many thanks!
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Chasing Solace - The Paperback

The Chasing Solace e-book has been around for a while. But there was no paperback.

I'd already received some book post today - another author sent me their latest title because they thought I'd like it (the excellent-looking Conundrum puzzle book by science writer Brian Clegg).

Then ... an even larger parcel arrived. I half-expected it to be a chocolate order I'd forgotten about. I like chocolate and I won't apologise for that love.

I fetched Mr Stabby, and we opened it.

Yay! This is often an author's favourite type of parcel. (Yes, even more than chocolate or whisky). Authors normally share videos of the happy openings but I am old-skool and low-tech so the best I can do is photos. I thought I'd share my happiness, since I am normally seen as rather grumpy. :-)

Siblings!

Title pages!

Once again, the book chapters are a countdown - but Chasing Solace has a lot more chapters! It's a bigger book and a bigger story. "Deeper and wider" is how I think of it.

The paperback will be available to the rest of the world soon.

Where next? You might want to follow me and my work, or even buy my books. Many thanks!
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