Suspense: I love it.

This week’s wordpress ‘Craft of Writing‘ talks about suspense and how to create it. Most people do it with words in a story, but our gardens have a very individual way of creating suspense. They do it with their own unique unpredictability.  Even plants that seem to be totally reliable sometimes have bad years, or get attacked by disease or predators, so we never really know until the summer how our gardens are going to look from one year to the next.  The variable weather also plays quite a part in how well our gardens will do: did the frost last too many days in a run, did I protect my delicate plants sufficiently, did it rain just a bit too much for those plants that like it dry, were there enough insects around to pollinate our fruit trees?

So at this time of the year we can walk around our gardens and all we can glean from them is a whole load of questions, building up the suspense.

Is this Persicaria as dead as it looks?

Persicaria 'Darjeeling Red'

Persicaria ‘Darjeeling Red’

Or this one? Did I move it too late?

Persicaria 'Red Dragon'

Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’

Was I a bit silly planting believing the label and planting a Pennisetum in Aberdeen?

Pennisetum 'Metallicum Rubrum'

A supposedly hardy Pennisetum ‘Metallicum Rubrum’ in frozen soil.

Should I have taken more care to cover this Ceratostigma before the frosts hit. (I think I know the answer to this one!)



Will my lilac tree flower this year?

Last year it was amazing, but some years it doesn’t flower at all. I don’t know if this is every other year or more random.  I am about to find out.

Lilac tree

Lilac tree

Do you think these new buds contain flowers?

Lilac buds

Lilac buds

Will my Nandinia leaves ever turn red? 


Nandinia staying stubbornly green!

Is the Dicentra spectabalis ‘Alba’, a present from Angie,  alive under the moss?

What is under the soil?

What is under the soil?

Will my Iris ‘Gerald Darby’ actually have flowers this year?

It has produced lovely foliage for the last couple of years but so far no flowers. Maybe I am doing something wrong?  At least it looks alive – see the new shoots amongst the dead leaves.

Iris 'Gerald Darby'

Iris ‘Gerald Darby’

Will my bee hotel attract any solitary bees?

Last year a lone wasp took a look but that was about it.

Bee Hotel

Bee Hotel

Will my 2 year old Clematis ‘Armandii’ surprise me with flowers for the first time?

Clematis 'Armandii'

Clematis ‘Armandii’

It looks healthy enough – I wander what these fat buds hold.

Clematis 'Armandii' bud

Clematis ‘Armandii’ bud

Will my rearranged ‘romantic’ border ever live up to its name?

Romantic border looking decidedly unromantic

Romantic border looking decidedly unromantic

And finally

Will my little plum tree make it though this rather cold winter and produce even half as many plums as last year?

Little plum tree in winter

Little plum tree in winter

It is hard to wait to find out the answers to these questions and more, but there is nothing else for it, wait we must.  Meanwhile we can savour the anticipation that nature provides us with every year – no words required.  I love it.

Is there anything special in your garden that has you waiting in suspense?


14 thoughts on “Suspense: I love it.

  1. How very, very true! Gardens are indeed full of suspense, and now that you mention it, isn’t this about 99% of the appeal of gardening? Otherwise we’d all be content to just sit in the local park and admire the council’s street flower arrangements. But admiring other people’s planting never enough for a gardener. When I look at someone else’s plants, I’m not just thinking ‘how pretty’ but also ‘can I try that myself?’ And the joy of seeing a beautiful flower bloom in your garden is as much to do with achievement as it is with aesthetics. A pretty rose is a pretty rose, but a pretty rose that you grew from a bare-root plant is something else indeed.

    • You are right. We would all get bored if we always knew the outcome. We don’t want too many disappointments though – I hope I will be able to report some good answers to those questions later on in the year.

  2. This is a nice twist – like you, I love the anticipation and suspense that comes from any new season – and his is a great way of putting to paper all of those internal questions you have when out in the garden or tending plants

    • I suspect I will also now have to own up to some disappointing answers to a few of these questions. Hopefully the rest will come right once the weather picks up. Think we have a bit of a wait though.

  3. I really enjoyed your post, waiting for bulbs to show up, when they were correctly planted for one, but even more the ones I’ve hurriedly put in this week which should of gone in at least a month or two ago!

  4. You are right part of the joy of gardening is the anticipatipon.
    They certainly are flower buds on the Clematis armandii. Not so sure about the Pennisetum tnough. I had my doubts when you planted it. Still it may surprise us.

    • Oh good – there are not as many buds as I would like, but a few are better than none. I think I just missed the flowering when I put it in the first year, but I was very disappointed last year when it didn’t perform. I remember you wondering about the Pennisetum, but I had got them as bargains so decided to give them a try hoping we would have another mild winter. Unfortunately we have had severe frosts that will probably have killed even some of my more hardy plants.I know I should have protected the crowns but it was one of those things that never happened and then it was too late. Oh well, if they do make it it will be a really nice surprise. If not, I am taking the labels back to the garden centre for a refund!

  5. Nice. I think the suspense of winter is one of my favorite times of year…. minus the cold and snow of course 😉
    I like that there’s still the whole season ahead of you and all the disasters and tragedies of last year are forgotten. Every year the delphinium is crushed in a cruel windstorm, but right now all I can think of are the brilliant spikes covered in blue.

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