Sometimes getting something wrong is getting it right

Just a piece of self-indulgence today – so forgive me.

In the coldest and frostiest part of the winter when I was feeling pretty ill, I was frustrated that I hadn’t been well enough to plant a new batch of Spring bulbs; ones that had been languishing in my shed since I was hospitalised with a brain haemorrhage on the last day of October.

With a little help from two willing volunteers, I decided that these bulbs just had to go in no matter what the conditions.

The main ones were plants very near the top of my list of favourites, the exotic and joyful tulip.

I had a plan, of course, the tulip bulbs were to go in a large terracotta pot with golden croci planted on top of them and then the soil would be planted out with small winter pansies.

The soil was frozen but the bulbs went in.

I was confused and not feeling well but the job did get done – well nearly.

I had forgotten about those croci and thought the bag containing their bulbs were more tulips – I had over-ordered I assumed.

So two small urn were selected to take the extra bulbs.Tulips would have looked fine in them. The soil was literally frozen solid so some judicious warm water was put into play before I managed to put these poor abandoned and already shooting bulbs into the least hospitable home imaginable.

My fingers were frozen with wet icy soil and I was not at all sure that the plants would make it.

Well with the coming of the early signs of Spring, the mistake was revealed. These were no tulips, of course, but those golden croci that should have been in a humbler home as an overture to those great stars of high Spring.

My first reaction was irritation. The tulips in that terracotta pot are well on their way but their shoots are surrounded by open soil and some very sad looking pansies which really didn’t want to be planted in ice.

I looked again at those croci and felt guilty.

They had struggled through the ice, planted so late in the season and yet, ludicrously somehow in their rather grand setting of those ornamental urns, they had made it to the light and were now dominating my small courtyard garden with their golden glow.

So they were an error but they are also a symbol.

Today and tomorrow I go back to the hospital for another round of consultations. Last night I wrote out a description of my current symptoms for the consultant neurologist and, for a moment, I thought, all this has been going on for so long now, it would be so easy to get depressed, I must find some extra patience, persistence and grit.

I know it is corny but I thought of those croci and as I write this they are shining out with the morning sun.

I planted them when my fractured spine was still a constant pain,it made even that simple piece of gardening a problem but now it is on the mend.

The effort worked and a strange incongruous sign sits out there below my window. It wasn’t what I had planned, it isn’t what I wanted but that slightly comical display of plant life gives me the strength to get through this next batch of treatment for that annoyingly persistent brain damage.

I am still slightly irritated that the croci are in the wrong place though. Never mind, my batch of blue hyacinths, companions from a trip to Amsterdam some years ago, is about to blossom. They, at least, are in the right place.

P.S. Just an update from this morning – I am back from hospital after a relatively up-beat consultation. Yay! I am not out of the woods by any means but there is reason to be hopeful. Those croci didn’t lie.


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