RIP My Delphinium

“Ugh my delphinium is dying'“

“Delphiniums don’t just die Sophie, what have you done to it? Or haven’t you been looking after it?”

I just had a look around the garden because I have some friends coming over for dinner tomorrow. I sent an e-mail round titled (in a hideously ironic/non ironic way) ‘Lovely London Literary Dinner’ (which my enemies can choke on tbh). I have been showing off vague corners of the garden on instagram but like almost everything in my life the rest of it is a mess. The seedlings have mainly died, the delphinium as mentioned looks awful, there’s unknown faeces on my turnips and there’s a squirrel that keeps digging up the basil and is in no way frightened of me. The roses still look fantastic, thank god I went back and got it.

A few years ago I had a habit of letting one of my houseplants die whenever an idiot boy broke up with me. I remember sitting in my bed staring at an aloe vera I’d put on a top shelf, watching it slowly fade and eventually rot. In some ways this was a slight pleasure, in most ways it’s depressing and pretentious to look back upon, what a waste of plants! I could use that aloe vera now on my sunburnt skin, maybe I’ll reinvest. This feels quite similar, the garden’s been put on the back bench.

I have been doing quite a lot of work on my health, revisiting things that need ironing over and it has felt like a full time job. Trying not to just sleep in the day, eat something so I don’t lose weight and actually working has kept my quite busy and the garden has been left to it’s own devices. But now I have finished with my PTSD workshops (ha ha) I’ll have one more day to concentrate on the garden instead of being completely exhausted. Anyway I’ve cut all my hair off and I’m ready to move on.


Beginning with rose shopping


I first started blogging when I was 17. The title of my blog was ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’ and consisted mostly of awful outfits, thinly veiled outpourings about boys I fancied, extremely typical film/book reviews and fairly bad photography. When I stopped blogging a few years ago (around the start of Instagram) I was at a point I probably wouldn’t be too embarrassed to look back upon today, but here I am wanting to return to blogging, because I have started gardening.

A few weeks ago I had a Bad Few Days. This began with my crying in a Peckham cafe (for seemingly no reason), going into Victoria, crying more whilst leaning against a bollard until a man came up to me and asked me for money, then looked at my face and asked if he could hug me instead (I obliged - a big sign something was wrong because I HATE PEOPLE TOUCHING ME) so I went home and put myself to bed. After another day or two of carrying on like this I woke up one morning and decided I would go to B&Q. I live very close to Old Kent Road and find the commercial anonymity a great comfort. Off I went with very little idea of what I was after and ended up having to ask my housemate to come and help me carry my purchases home. 

I have lived in the same house for 6 years and up until this point have mainly used the garden for the following:

  • Sunbathing

  • Drinking (‘Bar Sophie’ is my favourite event to host, a bbq with free drinks for all normally purchased at a duty free. It can end up with friends dancing in their underwear around the palm tree) 

  • Sitting on the blue bench, reading and ignoring whatever is going on around me

  • Complaining about the bamboo 

Our garden is relatively large, sunny at almost all points of the day and sheltered, so I decided I should probably get involved with making it look better. 

After the initial foray in B&Q and sorting out a metal bed we have in the garden I started visiting Dulwich Pot and Plant Garden at any opportunity - buying a peony, some cosmos and a small rose plant. Of course what I really wanted was a ‘big’ rose plant.

After perusing the David Austin website for a long time and deciding what I really wanted was the ‘Alan Titchmarsh’ I paid a visit to Nunhead Gardener. Sadly I couldn’t find an Alan but I did find 2 roses that I liked so I had a wander whilst looking at my phone at photos I’d taken of the two plants. Once I decided (this took a while) I returned to the rose section and found a woman with my rose in hand. I said ‘oh shit’ at a level slightly above my normal talking voice and watched as she was holding my plant to her chest and moving the other roses around. I stood watching and muttering until my boyfriend said ‘I can’t be with you when you’re acting like this’ and left to look at seeds. When she finally left for the counter with the rose I went back to see which (to me, abhorrent) roses were remaining.

In the end I left with a ‘Wildeve,’ (which is ‘light scented so IMO a complete waste of time) complained about it for 2 days, then took it back to Nunhead and swapped it for the ‘Alnwick’ (strongly fragranced and looks more fluffy/like a peony) which I was initially after (and which was actually hidden at the back when I first visited and found when I went back later in the day to see what an awful error I had made.)

After all of this I have felt a lot better, (stopped continually crying) so I will carry on with this whilst it works for me and will update here.