Beauty In A Time Of Trouble

These are very challenging times for everyone – you don’t need me to remind you of that. But hospices face a special challenge. We still have patients that need the specialist care that the hospice provides. This requires high levels of staffing, when many are having to self isolate because of illness, or someone in their family being ill. Some services have had to be stopped and visitor numbers have had to be limited. At the same time nearly all of the hospice’s fundraising activities, such as charity shops, fun runs, parachute jumps etc., have had to close or be postponed due to the virus. Hopefully the government’s announcement of funding for charities will ease the burden. But even so, many of the staff are working under a huge amount of stress.

For me, however, there haven’t been massive changes – although I’m not getting my cooked lunch in the canteen, which I’m finding quite stressful! I am also missing all of my volunteers who are staying at home, which is sad, both for them and me. So I am totally on my own.

The weather recently has been gorgeous and the gardens have been looking rather good. So I thought I would share a few pictures of beauty to try to cheer people up!

Last week I was tidying up the pond. Here it is…

The Marsh Marigolds are particularly lovely, especially with the sun shining through and a little bug feeding!

And I found this little stunner whilst at work…

A few weeks ago I had a phone call from a local business who were throwing away a whole load of spring flowering bulbs because they had a new lot coming in. Did I want them? Despite it being the the end of February and the fact that they should have been planted by the end of December, I said “Yes please”. When I collected them I was somewhat shocked by the sheer volume – probably a thousand packets! I, with a bit of help, managed to get quite a lot planted (but sadly not all). We planted daffodils, crocuses and tulips. The crocuses flowered within 2 weeks, closely followed by many of the tulips. There has been less success with the dafs.

Thank you to Derby House, Wrightington, for the donation.

In the wildflower garden I noticed that there were some cowslips growing. Their seeds were in the original seed mix that I sowed two years ago, but this is the first year that they have actually flowered. A very pleasant surprise.

I have also noticed a couple of very boring plants, which have beautiful flowers. The first is the willow, a very drab, straggly tree, which at this time of year bears the “pussy willow”.

The flowers start off all cute and furry…

Before turning bright yellow…

The other boring plant is right next door to the willow. It is the Cherry Laurel, with it’s waxy, green leaves.

But on closer inspection the flowers are amazing…

I have been busy tidying up in the gardens. Luckily, the weeds are only just beginning to get going, so at the moment I have been able to keep on top of them. Let’s hope that this continues in the coming weeks.

Sadly, the National Garden Scheme opening has had to be cancelled, as has Britain in Bloom. However, I am hoping to record a virtual tour of the gardens. So watch this space.

If you would like to make a donation to the hospice, you can do so here, but don’t feel you have to! They also explain the devastating impact that the Coronavirus is having on the hospice.

I hope that you are all well and are finding things to do in the tough times. Take care and God Bless.

Jim x