In an interview in the February issue of Gardens Illustrated, Edward Flint, head gardener at Tidebrook Manor and tutor on the Art and Craft of Gardening course at Great Dixter, said something that really struck a chord: ‘If you see something that needs doing, it’s probably too late.’ His words ring in my ears every time I dash out into the garden to sow, plant or prune, just before the window of opportunity closes. Good gardeners – especially head gardeners, whose job it is to stay on top of things – stick to a pre-ordained timetable. Somehow I never manage that.
Naomi is a good, organised gardener like Edward. In the depths of winter, when training a rose is far from most people’s minds, she was out in the inclement weather working some magic on this climbing rose with her friend Catherine. She says it was the last thing she felt like doing, but it was the right time to do it, so she did it.
The rose is now blooming its socks off and clothing the wall of the house perfectly. And it’s not even against Naomi’s own house – it’s in the ‘community’ corner plot at the end of her road, home to all kinds of edible delights that local residents can help themselves to. Every time she walks past the rose she thinks to herself: ‘I did that’. She jokes that if she can do that, she can do anything.
This winter, I too will be out in the garden in the freezing cold, pruning and training my own climbing roses. Just you see if I don’t.