I subscribe to several newsletters which have recently commented on this subject, so it seems I'm not the only sufferer. The main piece of advice they advocate is just to start writing something / anything about any subject, no matter how small and to refrain from too much analysis or judgment. I thought long and hard about this and realised that the one activity I've kept up with is watering the garden and picking my roses. The reason for this is that we've been experiencing incredibly hot, humid weather, particularly in the City Bowl where I live and you either water or your plants die. Gardening in this winter rainfall area is particularly demanding in summer - the mountains seems to radiate heat out over the city and the temperature doesn't always drop much at night. When the sun isn't burning the roses, the wind denudes them of petals and after that the bugs complete the destruction.
Despite all these problems I realised anew how rewarding roses are and how there's nothing more enjoyable than picking a fragrant bunch for the house.
The Just Joey rose in the picture was my darling father's favourite rose and everytime I bury my nose in its petals I'm reminded of the joy he experienced from his and my mother's fairly large collection of potted roses. He didn't have as much time as he deserved to enjoy his roses (and his dahlias) in his golden retirement years but I think of both my parents when I potter around the rose shrubs.
The other rose is my favourite Abraham Darby which I thinks rivals any other variety for its sublime fragrance. It's the only one of my English Roses which has flourished in the city bowl area, although I believe that new hardier varieties of the English Roses have been grown specifically for the harsher South African climate. Maybe it's time to try some others again. I find the closely packed cup of petals and the delicate colour changes during the maturing process, just too beguiling to resist.
I'm drawn mostly to the peachy-pink and yellow colours but it has to be said that the yellow roses attract the most stubborn and annoying black and white spotted beetles which can devour and destroy a bud in short order. I don't like to use non-organic sprays and unfortunately the organic ones are ineffective so I'm reduced to picking these little wretches off by hand. I've always been squeamish about doing this but a little bit of healthy annoyance at the insect destruction has hardened my resolve.
And there we have it - at last a new post to break the dry spell, perhaps more personal that I'm using to sharing, but I'm glad to be on the return trail at last!