Flowers, A Winter Phenomenon

Jan 1st. Bleak midwinter.

No one told the plants….

And here’s a poem from my upcoming anthology…


My garden is peeping out, unsure if it’s welcome yet,

Testing the atmosphere, checking on the timing.

Is there a warmth to our greetings, or a frost?

The plants, the ones we love, they are coy and shy.

The weeds are the gatecrashers to our horticultural party.

They are brazen, muscling past our forks and trowels,

Pushing the daffs and primroses to one side.

 White skin-budded thugs, shaven headed,

Lying in wait in the dark loam, muggers in alcoves.

When we pull back the leaves, they thrust past, creating mayhem.

They crave the best soil, the blackest tilth

As their play area.

What irony.

Black is good in the garden.

Pale chalk or sickly clay are the feeble, despised bases,

Lacking fibre, elements and nourishment.

They seek out the rich dark friable peaty earth,

The blackest , the brownest.

Like coal and oil, peat is fuel, a source of wealth, heat and power,

All contained in the ground.

We can’t do without this dark hued matter

Yet we still underplay the importance of its blackness,

We still give it a negative connotation,

Still we see the light, the pale, the white as somehow better.

The garden knows best, even the bleachy-headed weeds.

They know the yin and yang of gardening:

Nothing much grows without the sun and the light.

But nothing is nurtured, preserved and nourished without the soil and the black.

Why didn’t we see this all those years ago?

Why are we still blind?

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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26 Responses to Flowers, A Winter Phenomenon

  1. We’re seeing shoots in gardens too.
    Happy New Year Geoff in case I haven’t said before.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely. Funny, I’m in the mind of planting things, too. I was just working on a scene where “no nukes” protesters (of the nuclear power variety) plant white spiderworts outside the gates of a nuclear power plant. They said the flowers turn pink when exposed to radiation. This really happened–at an Ohio power plant in the 80s. Don’t know if the flowers ever turned pink, before they were removed, no doubt. Great poem, post, great start to 2019!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. January flowers? What a marvelous surprise, Geoff! They’re lovely — and so is the well thought poem. Happy New Year hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah! An ode to flowers of small petal you found in your garden one midwinter’s morning. How lovely!
    Is this because your area is temperate? We hit 16°F yesterday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      It never used to be but we were in double figures (centigrade) yesterday. A more seasonal 5 today and some cold coming but we don’t get the weather we used to, that’s certain. Some plants really need to be knocked back and hibernate or they exhaust themselves. Poor dears. 16F sounds pretty parky to me. Wrap up warm.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ritu says:

    In the nursery garden, we’ve got primroses in flower, the tulips are up and bulbs are starting to shoot !

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Most intriguing. I love these words “Lying in wait in the dark loam, muggers in alcoves.
    When we pull back the leaves, they thrust past, creating mayhem.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The last few lines create a fine metaphor

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That is a most intriguing poem – your musings on soil colour cover many human foibles and prejudices. Brought to mind the vague sense of discomfort I feel when our US friends refer to ‘soil’ as ‘dirt’…… Our flowers here were rather discombobulated last winter, as we all were. The daffs were up two months ahead of time and new leaves were budding before the last had fallen from some trees. It was extremely mild – and wet. Lets not forget the wet. But with no frosts to speak of, the pests have multiplied.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. JT Twissel says:

    A lovely poem and timely. Because of the lack of rain for so long our primroses and snowdrops have yet to appear.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Eileen says:

    The bulbs are coming up already in Middle Tennessee and the Dogwood trees have buds. I’ve never seen either happen before latish February or early March. If we don’t get a freeze the bugs will over run us, but if we get a deep freeze or long one, nothing will probably bloom.Bummer.
    Lovely photos. And delightful muscled weeds.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. willowdot21 says:

    I love the weeds being likened to bald headed white skinned thugs… nature’s bully boys. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Jennie says:

    So pretty. And there is always life and rebirth.

    Liked by 1 person

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