The Garden … No Place for Television

Experience means little, if anything, anymore
in a perverse world where everyone’s opinion
is (seemingly) just as “valid” as anyone else’s.

Multitudes of belligerent youths and ‘instant experts’
having neither the will or humility to learn;
needing to “look it up”, rather than retain
intelligent thought,

think nothing of spewing profanity-laced contempt
at those whose wisdom, life experience,
and mature deportment should instead,
cause them to blush with shame.

Finding Common Sense in the 21st century
is like searching for a jewel in a cesspool:

you have to wade through
a tremendous amount of sewage
to find anything of value.

The television and the Internet
have no place in the garden
when those who use them are unable (or unwilling),
to discriminate, discern, differntiate Knowledge
from inexperienced opinion … or an outright sales-pitch.

The twisting labyrinth of Corylus: the Corkscrew Hazel

The Television exists to control your mind.

It has NEVER had ANY other purpose.

Television Removes the ability to think.
Gardening Requires the ability to think.

By the mid-1950’s, television was the
prime method of convincing American housewives
to buy Proctor and Gamble laundry soap,
as well as other household products.

The recurring, turmoil-soaked serial “filler”
in-between those brief mind control sessions,
was known as a Soap Opera

– and even then, the “Stars” of those
daily or weekly programmes would be seen
performing – often still in their character’s wardrobe
and ‘on set’ – in adverts for whatever brands of motor car,
or breakfast cereal were sponsoring their ‘show’.

In 1960, that TV – now a ‘must-have’ feature
of American life – began its subtle role
of re-engineering the morals and mentality
of anyone and everyone who owned a television set.

When one has no interest, vanity is not an issue:
one does not ‘defend’ “My favourite show”
… and the patterns fairly ‘jump out’
at the unbiased observer …

In 1960, ‘Sherriff Andy Taylor’
introduced Americans to the concept
that a child can be raised in a home without a mother.
Oh, there was a surrogate – ‘Aunt Bea’ – but to change thinking,
it is essential to introduced thoughts gradually.

In 1966, ‘Uncle Bill’ raised Buffy, Jody, and Cissy
without a woman whatsoever.
The only help needed was dear old ‘Mr French’.

A woman was certainly not needed to raise a child:
She was of far more use being ‘liberated’ from
instilling respect, manners, guidance, and admonishment
to her children … to instead, earning spending money
which contributed taxes to bureaucratic coffers.

In 1966, and again in 1970, the removal
of the traditional family conviction from women
would be championed by two heroes of The Cause,
as Marlo Thomas and Mary Tyler Moore
played character roles in which any notion
of the wife and mother being at home
to raise moral, responsible, and respectful children,
was utterly abandoned for a career at the office.

In 1969, kindly ‘Marcus Welby, M.D.’ featured
topics that were associated with promiscuous sex,
rape, abortion and drug addiction.
No need for a mother at home:
all the advice you need is found on the TV set.

In 1970, the son-in-law of ‘Archie Bunker’
made such vehement, passionate humanist
discourses as “Why do we kill people
to show that killing people is wrong?” –
captivating the simple

with the specious, infantile ‘reasoning’
that removes all concept of difference
between the vicious actions of a Sadistic Savage,
and the judicial imperative of removing evil
from a society of morally-centred people.

In 1971, ‘Daddy’ Walton
did not accompany his family to church;

which ushered in a legion of programmes
that featured increasingly rebellious children
who went to ‘friends’ for advice,
rather than discuss concerns
and seeking the wisdom of caring parents.

[ Twenty years later, the perversion of “The Simpsons”
would exemplify the slovenly, stupid parents
and back-talking, belligerent brats,
that were characteristic of mass humanity
at the close of the 20th century. ]

In 1982, the cinema introduced the world
to the ex-military, Steroid Ape who would set the standard
for profanity-spewing, bullet-spraying savages
that would be worshipped and adored
by thug humanity up to this present day.

Men would now follow the Way of the Grunting Savage,
and women would do all they could
do to hurl any last vestige of femininity
from their lives.

The 1990’s were dominated by series’
in which cohabitating groups of ‘friends’
were concerned, in each episode,
with little more than copulating.

Several concepts in 21st century TV
(at least, in Britain and Europe) are readily apparent:

the trend of ‘police’ series’ in which
the chief of police or top detective
is an aggressive woman;
while men are the dependent assistants
seeking her approval for their efforts;

the nauseating repetition of the “T” word
where every bolt of lightning striking the ground
is potentially an act of … T- ism,

and the theme of pagan Earth Worship wherein
the earth is about to collapse if “we”
do not do this or do that.

Woman as leader; Man as subordinate;
and constant fear-mongering to keep the masses
dependent and compliant.

For over the last decade, apparently,
one cannot even watch a television programme,
without a little sliding window appearing on screen
to advertise the next ‘upcoming’ programme.
Condition viewers to become used to intrusive ads.

I cannot fathom how people can sit through it all
– but they do.

And with the advent of the Internet,
multitudes who cannot distinguish
“there”, “their” and “they’re”,
or “your” and “you’re”,
not only regard themselves as “teachers”
– but have a willing audience
who ‘like’, subscribe, comment
… and even say ‘Thank You’ to them.

If it appeals to ego or ease, people Like it
… Believe it … and Express their gratitude.

Light, Water, and Soil: the first shoots of Sum and Substance
emerge from the garden bed …

The Gardener

The garden REQUIRES four things that are
clearly repulsive to Modern Humanity:

Contemplation – the capacity to think before acting;
Empathy – to see things from the plant’s perspective;
Patience – to do things properly, and
the Humility to stoop down to do menial chores.

A plant is in a stationary position:
it cannot tell you when it needs help –
it is up to you to have the empathy to
see that its home (the soil) is well-tended;
to bring it water;
and to look for signs when it is unwell.

Those who do Not ENJOY caring for the garden,
are Not a gardeners.

The garden is no place for laziness and apathy
– the very things that are the Selling Points
for TV and Internet advertising.

Those who ‘cannot be bothered’ to provide
affection and healthy mental stimulation
to their dog, cat, budgie, or goldfish;

and subject them daily
– like dogs in an SPCA concrete kennel –
to perpetual misery and mental torture,
do but reveal what selfish,
hard-hearted creatures they are.

Gardening is about Appreciation:
willingly expending the mental Effort
and Energy (a concept that used to be known as ‘exercise’)
to care for that something that so desperately depends
upon human intervention.

NO NEED to BUY

Gardening is not about spending money.
And honestly, gardening is not even difficult –
for someone with a tender disposition.

A long-standing, unkempt garden reveals
the apathetic character of its owner.
The days of labouring and living in coal mines
are long over:
the mantra of “I don’t have the time” is pathetic.

The Gardener will MAKE time.
The deserving owner of an Animal will MAKE the time.

Multitudes make the time to vegetate
in front of the TV or on the Internet;
but complain that they “Don’t have the time”
for things that require effort or conscience.

MAKE time for the garden, and it WILL
change your personality – for the better, I assure you.
Gardening Will make you a better human being.

And if you DO make time for the garden, do not be swayed
by the declarations of pedlars who pander to laziness.
Your garden Does NOT Need
the junk that Advertisers are trying to sell you.

Gardening is exercise for the mind
… body … and conscience.

It requires is a tender heart,
a sensitive soul – Empathy …
and the willingness to care and make the effort
for living things that depend upon you
for kindness.

Friend, Mentor … and Grandpa: John Hall, the man who taught me
and gave me my first ‘paid’ job in the Botanic Gardens, in 1969 …

What MUST You Buy to be a Gardener ?

Five tools:

1. a spade
2. a border fork
3. a trowel
4. a pair of by-pass secateurs
5. a rake

6. a wheel-barrow,
which helps to carry away the various results
of an afternoon’s exercise in the garden.

and

7. well-rotted horse manure
or similar, suitable compost.

There is NO other additive that is required for your garden –
no chemical,
no ‘booster’,
no other thing Whatsoever need be added to your garden.

There is No Need to Buy
the bulk of what is being sold:

no need to turn your garden
into a pharmaceutical dumping ground.

1. Friable Soil
2. Sufficient Water
3. Proper Light

– supply these things, and invest thought and exercise
and your garden will reward you with blissful serenity,
sights and scents.

As for television and the Internet:
one will not go far wrong with the instruction
of Alan Titchmarsh: an highly experienced gardener
with a demonstrable ability to teach in a congenial
and humble manner.

But sober-minded teachers of humble disposition,
who are unwilling to accommodate modern sloth
and ‘politically correct’ agenda-pandering …

… are a rarity.

Find them if you can, and appreciate their efforts.

[ Thoughts upon “Teachers on the Internet”
are presented on this site;
perhaps, there may be something to consider
in the suggestions offered there? ]

Gardening is about Empathy:
looking at a plant that is unable to move, speak,
or fend for itself – and making the Effort
to provide that plant with what it needs to be healthy.

Whether you garden on an acreage, city plot,
or high-rise balcony, Cultivate Kindness,
Responsibility, and Discernment –
and enjoy the plants that will flourish as a result.

PL

A ray of morning sunlight penetrates the darkness …

STRAIGHT Talk from OLD Paths: A GARDENING PRIMER

The Will to Live … tiny shoots make the effort
from a shard of hosta crown that had, a some point,
been broken from the main plant.

The plants in your garden WANT to survive:
How would it be if You gave them the opportunity –
and in so doing,
enriched your mind, morals, and life … ?

Cultivate INTEREST

“How” one might ask, “do I go about
developing an Interest in gardening?”

More than a few people, when I was a teen,
delighted in Collecting Stamps, Coins,
Porcelain Figurines, or Tea Sets.

Do the same thing in the garden: Collect.

Choose a THEME for the garden:

and Collect –

Herbs of ‘old world’ medicines in a Physic Garden;
Shade plants for a Shade Garden;
Roses in a garden that will
overwhelm the senses with beauty and fragrance;
or,
Serenity … simply reading from a book
while sitting at the garden pond.

IMAGINE a theme;
CULTIVATE an interest in your garden-related topic;
BEGIN a collection of favourite plants;

and

ENJOY the pleasure of seeing the garden
respond to your care, attention, and diligent work.

Human Beings will TAKE your efforts
and say nothing – a ‘Thank You’ being beyond
the dulled conscience of many;

The Garden will NEVER do that.

Even a flower has more solemnity,
courtesy, and appreciation
than the bulk of what struts through this earth today.

Every plant in the garden
will be grateful for your labours –
– and will show it.

Gardening will shape your body;
sharpen your mind;
and stimulate both empathy and patience.

It WILL make you a better, more caring,
and tender-hearted human being.

OLD PATHS – Not Modern Madness

More than a few houses – throughout Ireland,
Scotland, and Europe stand two-,
three-, and four hundred years after being built
.. out of Cob.

Cob is a thick mixture of lime; horse-hair or straw;
clay, … and sharp sand.

Now, with that in mind, precisely why it has been
that the “advice” handed out by media ‘experts’ ,
garden centres, and television gardening celebrities
over the last thirty years,
has been to rejuvenate clay soil by adding “sharp sand”

has been, for me, something that is utterly mystifying
and extremely frustrating when noting
the look of desperation upon the faces of folk
who have asked me to fix
the resulting quagmire that occurred.

Clay – mixed with Sharp Sand
is the principle ingredient … in Cob.

Quite why anyone would be instructed
to turn their garden beds
into nature’s version of cement,
is, truly, beyond my ability to fathom.

Any soil – sand, clay, or simply
old soil lacking nutrients – Will be … Will Be –
enriched and made highly suitable for plant growth,
by digging in well-rotted horse manure.

Nothing else is required.

In lieu of well-rotted horse manure,
– for folks living in cities – any available compost
forked in to existing soil
will immediately improve its characteristics,
transforming it from being detrimental to plant life,
to being a home in which plants will thrive.

If you are ever faced with the seeming dilemma
of whether to trust “Science” – or the Victorian farmer:
trust the old-fashioned farmer.

Every time.

CHEMICALS

Having been taught by a gardener who, in turn,
learned his skills from Edwardian gardeners,
it will be apparent that my methods of gardening
are decidedly contrary to what has been
presented in gardening television and magazines
over the past thirty years or so.

Yes, gardeners in my grandpa’s time,
used Arsenic to control certain infestations of weeds.
But it was handled by men in a time in the world
when human beings could be trusted to exercise
basic common sense, self control, and discretion.

It was also – for my grandpa,
a very rare event.
Many a loving mother put Opium on a baby’s gums
to reduce the pain of teething.

Different time.
Different Human Race.
Nothing whatsoever to do
with the infantilised hordes of today
who must run to “a doctor” or a bureaucrat
to be instructed in things that require considered thought
and “old fashioned” know how.

A sudden gust of wind could irreparably damage
the average child today – if the antics of Modern-day Mummies
have been anything by which to judge.

And as for a garden pond …
The hysteria is scarce to be imagined.

BUY This, BUY That … Just BUY!

Still, in the age of laziness and impatience,
there has, most noticeably, been a tremendous push
to have gardens turned into dumping grounds for chemicals
as a way to facilitate a ‘quick fix’.

I still cannot fathom the advice dispensed
from countless television gardening programmes
and garden centre ‘experts’ since the early 1990’s –

– when planting a shrub or tree,
place a handful of Bone Meal in the planting hole.

Certainly, the Bone Meal may provide
a steroid-like ‘boost’ … in the beginning, but

Bone Meal destroys Mycorrhizal fungi –
the bacteria which encourages a plant’s roots
to take in water from the soil.

By destroying the naturally-occurring bacteria,
the benefits which produce a robust plant
are effectively hindered, if not destroyed
for the long term.

I do not own a television and, indeed,
have not so much as seen one in over a decade;
however, have been assured
by several viewers of British gardening programmes,
that the current advice on the BBC
is to no longer to buy Bone Meal,

but to … buy ( buy !!! ) COMMERCIAL
Mycorrhizal Fungi …

and sprinkle THAT in the planting hole !

From twenty years of telling people
to spend money
buying a commercial powder
which destroys essential bacteria in soil,

to another twenty years (?) of telling people
to spend money
buying a commercial powder
to add to the natural bacteria
that are already in the soil.

And because it is “on the TV”, people do it,
and repeat the ‘advice’ to others.

Gardening – is understanding
what a specific plant requires,
and then providing it
with a good home in your garden.

MANURE

Well-rotted horse manure
(from source to garden bed,
it is best to allow 12 months)
WILL ‘condition’ ANY type of soil,
and provide a luxurious home
for your perennial garden residents.

For those in the city, consider Mushroom Manure
as an alternative although, do be aware that it has
a higher concentration of ‘lime’ –
making it too alkaline for evergreens.

For evergreens, use Composted Bark;
this is not bark mulch, but is a dark,
soil-like compost, which can be applied
over the root-area to top dress evergreens.

“Well-rotted” horse manure:
from the fresh article, ideally allow 12 months
before placing this phenomenal source
of everything-that-is-good
into your garden.

Any plant WANTS to grow.
The gardener simply has to know how
to give it a safe, secure, and comfortable home.

Forking in organic compost will transform
ANY type of soil
into an inviting home for plants;
time, in addition, will attract worms,
which will then carry nutrients
throughout that garden soil.

Thereafter, a 3-inch covering of mulch
on the garden beds during the first week in March
(early enough so that springtime bulbs
are free to emerge without being broken)
will inhibit weeds
as well as helping the soil to retain moisture.

Shade plants for shade areas:
Nothing, I suppose, can be more depressing
than seeing a hosta struggling to survive
because home-owner or landscaper
has situated it in a location of full sun.

Plants make their own food using light
and Carbon Dioxide – more carbon, more oxygen.
Give them a comfortable home of friable soil
and regular supplies of water,
and they will look after the rest.

WEEDING

Whilst it is true that each plant – given
a secure place to grow, WILL ordinarily look after itself –
the artificial environment of a garden
DOES require intervention from you.

If none is given, weeds will invariably take over.

Mulch ( depriving the weeds of light )
and a bit of healthy exercise ( time spent
on hands and knees ) is what is required
to defeat ruthless invaders known as weeds.

The toughest Perennial weeds ( such as Dandelion )
will grow through the mulch, and it is the up the gardener
to get down on hands and knees with a trowel,
or stand with a garden fork,
and loosen the area around the weed
using care to remove the entire Tap Root.

Remove young weeds as they are sighted.

The same, ideally first thing in the morning,
is true for slugs.

Pernicious weeds may certainly require
careful application of a systemic weed-killer;
but that should be the exception, rather than the rule.

No caring, conscientious gardener will ever
use “slug bait” poison as this will inevitably end up
killing the garden animals who eat them.

HERBICIDE

Equisetum has thin, easily breakable roots
that spread perniciously below ground;
whilst Convolvulus binds itself
around the plants surrounding it,
in effect, strangling them as it grows.

In an invasive situation, where forking
is not practical due to the sheer mass of weeds,
the only recourse is to apply a Systemic weed-killer
which kills the plant and stops at the soil.

The herbicide ‘Roundup’ is a carcinogen.
So, rather than fly off into the typical 21st century,
mindless Panic;

do not inhale it;
do not roll in it.

Use if for those initial infestations,
and treat the potential danger with the maturity
and Common Sense that still existed in adults,
when I was growing up in the 1960’s.

COST ?

Gardening is Not about spending money.

Yes, of course, you pay the nurseryman
for providing you with a beautiful addition
to your garden –

that is only fair and proper.

But after the initial expense of procuring
A Few … needful tools,
your biggest acquisition should be
well-rotted horse manure from an amenable stable-owner
or compost from your own compost bins.

Even the application of commercially bought
mushroom manure or other ‘organic matter’
is a once-a-year event.

With the extreme exception of Equisetum
or Convolvulus (pernicious weeds invading usually
from neighbouring pasture or wasteland),
there is No need to buy chemicals.

Adding anything manufactured by man to a garden,
is not only (ultimately) detrimental to the garden,
it is an utter waste of money.

A bit of energetic work and the garden
will more than take care of itself
as far as the growth of flowers and shrubs
is concerned.

You Do NOT need to spend money.
You Do need to expend Energy and develop Interest
in an ‘old fashioned’ concept once known as
“physical exercise”.

HEALTH and MORALITY

Gardening will sharpen your mind,
pique your curiosity,
and keep your mind and body
in infinitely better condition
than multitudes who sit putrefying the brains
in front of some form of video screen.

When it is pouring with rain in the winter,
get into the greenhouse or the potting shed:
check the labels on seedlings and cuttings;
clean and oil secateurs and other garden equipment.

When a howling snowstorm makes it too cold
to be outside at all,
sit beside the fireplace with a hot cup of tea,
and pour over the pages of the latest catalogue
from the local rose nursery.

Make gardening your hobby …
your exercise …
your genuine interest in life,

and you will be quicker, sharper,
and far more healthy
than multitudes whose entire existence
is constantly spent looking for ways to be
lazy and to “make life easier”.

Do wonderful work in your garden,
and your garden will, I assure you,
do wonderful work upon you.

P Livingstone

The 15th of APRIL … In the GARDEN

 

The Old Testament describes Gardeners as

“… those that dwelt among plants and hedges”.

Men who were content to do the servile work
of planting and hedging …

The phrase is not a complimentary one but is, rather,
a rebuke at those who had been content to serve a pagan king,
rather than join their people in returning home to a theocracy.

Being the type of person who is (I earnestly believe)
all-but extinct in the 21st century,
I confess to finding  – not merely contentment, but – relief
doing work in people’s gardens,

rather than aspiring to the vanity, greed,
viciousness and ambition
that visibly-and-audibly characterises modern society.

For anyone happening upon these words
and who might perhaps understand the sentiment,
it may be that you will appreciate joining me
for a walk around the garden as it was
on the 15th of April …

The first rays of sunlight add colour and warmth to the blue cast of early morning,

faintly lighting a tulip which is still in the shadow of pre-dawn …

Several of our baby nishikigoi – hearing me out and about,
demand to know when breakfast will be served.

With the lads having been fed, time now to look at the garden beds …

Having brought with us, to this place, some 78 hostas
along with other perennials from our former nursery,
it will be practical to feature only a few –
I hope that those I have selected to show you here
will give a pleasing enough sense of the garden today …

As the heavy, thick leaves of gigantic hosta
‘Sum and Substance’ make an appearance …

… the soft and delicate fronds of Matteuccia struthiopteris
prepare to unfurl in the warming temperatures …

Garden Care

The yellow blooms of Forsythia
having made their appearance for the year,
the plant is cut back to encourage new growth,

… which comes from the younger branches …

Though the process seems somehow, “Wrong”,
the plant is happier for it.

Hosta Halcyon joins its neighbours in adding colour
to the monotone earth tones of the soil …

Having served admirably to protect the plant
during the cold rains of winter,
old fronds (such as on this Hart’s Fern)
are cut back to make way for the new growth
which is ready to present itself
for a new year in the garden …

Each and every plant in the garden
deserves to be given careful and individual attention …

Dicentra eximia

I began this Internet site in March of 2012,
in the hopes that it might be the means whereby
I could meet – and share thoughts,
commiserations, and ‘links’ with other,
tender-hearted, quiet, and contemplative
men and women.

That notion having failed beyond my wildest imagination,
I have often wondered if I am the only man alive on earth,
who can be moved with compassion
at the plight of a plant.

Until, that is, I saw a BBC interview
with an Arabic gardener who was not afraid to say
that the thought of a plant suffering in the garden,
filled him with distress.

Now, I know that there are two of us
left in the world.

Digging through a mound of perfectly good soil
(presumably left by previous owners
who seemingly removed some garden ‘feature’
from the ground, and piled soil on this spot)

I came across a little glint of white.

Using my hands to pull away the soil,
I came across the pathetic sight of a hosta
– completely inverted – some 2 feet
below the surface –

struggling desperately (it would have failed)
to reach the surface to live.

As the root ball was upside down,
the shoots were arcing – trying to grow
in the direction of the now-upward roots.

A tragic sight which filled me with
immense compassion for the valiant
little plant.

With the rescued plant in hand,
and friable, manure-rich soil ready to receive it,
the problem was – how does one plant it?
to cover the roots properly,
would be to cover the shoots as well.

The solution seemed to be … to build a smaller
mound within the new planting hole;
place the root-ball, and cover as many roots as possible
– whilst still leaving the shoots exposed to light and air.

– UPDATE:

Just 24 Hours later, the shoots had moved
sufficiently horizontally to allow the roots
to be fully covered –
(for me, if no one else) happily,
the little fellow is responding well …

People gawp with awe
at the latest piece of mind-stupifying
‘technology’ to hit the mass market
of the modern human race –

while something that is truly miraculous
and worthy of admiration,
is either “boring” or of no interest whatsoever.

A Photograph taken in pre-dawn light
reveals that, in the darkness and pouring rain,
the shoots continue to arc skyward.

Immense satisfaction – in an Age where
human beings respond with silence, apathy,
and ingratitude –

to see them eclipsed, surpassed,
by the response AND obvious appreciation
that is shown … by a ‘mere’ plant.

Contrastingly coloured with green from shoots regularly exposed to daylight,

Hosta Undulata albomarginata

Taking a rest today, the Bog Garden
awaits the addition of more soil and manure
to hide the pond liner beneath the plants
and increase the depth of the soil for lush growth;
but that, all being well, will wait until tomorrow …

Since starting this morning, the nishikigoi —

– [an aside: to avoid, perhaps, confusion, should this
series in the garden continue throughout the year;
the name is nishikigoi – quite erroneously referred to
in the North America World, as “koi” (‘goi’ meaning, “carp”).

Having never seen Any need whatsoever to either
imitate ‘America’ or ‘follow a multitude’ in any thing,
I use the name ‘nishikigoi’ – “coloured (like jewels) carp” ] –

— are slapping the water, calling for a bit of attention.

Time to set the camera down and enjoy a little community spirit
with my friends … and hope that one or two folk
will have enjoyed this walk through the garden.

Sincerely,
PL, 16th April, ’18

The 1st of April … in the GARDEN

 

A Tulip displays in mid-morning

With April ushering in that extraordinary temperature
of 11 degrees Centigrade,
shoots begin to emerge from the cold garden soil –

Should there be one or two folk remaining in the world
who appreciate the wonders of the garden – in all stages,
Join me as we take a walk around …

In every garden bed, Hostas make their first appearance …

… as the first leaves emerge on bright red branches.

Matteuccia struthiopteris

From Blue Mammoth to the diminutive Blue Blush,
every species of hosta in the garden is now responding to the warming air.

Raspberry

Blackberry

Magnolia

Peony

The ‘glow’ of Forsythia

The Beautiful, Purple-Black of Hellebore “Blue Lady”.

The first display of Prunus

Scilla

Something not destroyed by the interfering touch
of man-made inventions or brain-wasting techno-toys:
the wonderful sights of the garden
which, I trust, one or two folk visiting today
may have appreciated.

For those possessing the capacity, be congenial,
say “Hello” and leave a word of greeting;
I hope that you have enjoyed sharing the sights
of this walk around the garden on the 1st of April, 2018.

I shall leave you with another look
at one of the Tulips in the garden …

As always —
Rise above the degradation of the 21st century;
Cultivate Kindness, Gentility, and Attention to Detail:

Make the Effort … Care for a Garden.

PL
April ’18

Explaining the Empty Site [March 2018]

I have a moral conscience
and the ability to apply discretion
in unique situations.

It has continually made me an object of contempt
for modern-minded humanity who resent anyone
that has the self-control to think, and discern,
in a lazy, vicious world
where compassion and empathy
is considered ‘weakness’.

Anything that requires Thought and Self Discipline,
is distasteful to modern minds.

The domineering bully is always “offended”
at anyone whose words
might expose their tyranny.

When a society is so depraved that teenagers
freely shout filthy obscenities in public,
one realises the futility of trying to promote empathy
amidst a collective humanity
that has no moral decency whatsoever.

The problem in actually paying
for an address on the Internet
is that it cannot be ‘taken down’ at will, but must
(as I understand it) be left to “expire”.

At the end of 2016, I asked that anyone
who was interested in this site continuing,
simply let me know.

And spent 2017 listening to the silence.

In determining to simply remove the content
and let it expire in 2018,
I have been troubled by the fact
that folk keep arriving here;

and feel guilty at the ( unlikely ) thought
of someone ( who might ACTUALLY be interested )
making the effort; and yet, arriving here
only to find a blank ‘page’.

As much as I try (and make every effort)
to make a friend,
it is impossible for me to please people.
It has been this way all my life.

I am ‘Out of Place’ in the World:
I always have been.

People look at me,
and see a “narrow-minded” “killjoy”.

I look at people and see multitudes
whose speech and conduct denotes an existence
with no higher purpose than to be entertained.

They would not want to be me.

And I would not want to be them.

Objective Truth is of no interest
to the modern-mind.

People want to be Deceived, Degraded,
and Destroyed –

they do Not Want to know the magician’s secret:
discerning the truth
means that they will have to take responsibility;
and THAT means that conscience will oblige them
to reject the offered luxury, and ease, and sloth.

Bid people to wake up and rise from the dead,
and they will be furious: angry
at even the hint of moral responsibility.

Human beings in the 21st century do not want
the fantasy world to be destroyed.

I had imagined that any folk who came
to this Internet site, and returned,
did so because they shared some common bond
and would, ( I had presumed ) make themselves known
if for no other reason, to encourage someone of like mind.

But people Do Not do that —

An Encouraging Word

in a Putrid World

is (evidently) too much of an effort.

Conscience is dead … and so are
the masses who walk with a beating heart
– and little else beyond poking a finger
into some technological toy,
and being fascinated with the result.

In such a world, there arrives a point
when one must realise
that he is manifestly wasting his time.

For me, that time came at the close of 2016.

Anything that requires Thought
and Self Discipline,
is distasteful to modern minds.

Anything that requires discernment between
objective Right and Wrong is … unpleasant.

The family having been effectively obliterated,
people are no longer referred to as
men and women, boys and girls –
but in adjectives one reserved to describe animals:
“male” and “female”.

No one cares, but ‘jumps on the bandwagon’
and adopts the speech.

The process of removing femininity from women
is known as “feminism”.
No one ponders the irony;
they simply repeat the speech.

In a world where the “gentle man”
no longer exists,
tenderness and gentility are sneeringly
mocked as weakness;
and women consider it ‘liberation’ to be
insensitive, callous, and even brutal.

The television is the greatest single device
ever invented by mankind
to make degradation and depravity ‘normal’
in human society:

Hollywood Cinema introduces the Depravity.
Television brings it into the home, which
makes it seem “Normal” –

people will separate themselves
from a moral man,
long before they will ever separate their home
from the television set.

Multitudes complain about being “victims”
– blaming “Government”, “society”, or “medication”,
“bankers”, politicians, or circumstance –

who should, instead, be looking in a mirror
to see the cause of depravity
– and the accompanying misery – in their own lives.

Who is to blame: The Malignant Predator …
… or the imbecile who blindly and willingly follows him ?

Do not blame Hollywood when You are the one
who brings Hollywood into your home.

It is (surely?) a perverse mentality
that rages against the Poisoner who

hands an individual a glass
marked “Arsenic” —

tells the person to “Read the Label” and,
“Observe the Drops I am placing in the water”
( showing them plainly that what they are being handed
is poison );

but leaves the choice of whether to drink or not,
entirely up to that individual who not only
enthusiastically drinks from the glass,
but encourages his children to drink it also ?

But of course, one Dare Not suggest this
to multitudes whose daily existence
is centred upon no higher purpose than “having fun”.

 

The Evangelical Church – that once-great means
of causing people to consider that there is something
in life more important than “Me” …

has, since the mid-‘70’s, become little more than
a social centre of openly-visible “Golden Calf Worship”
in a ‘church’ that IMITATES the ways and methods
of the theatre, the rock concert, and the
psychological encounter group.

What was once moral separation from debauchery,
has given way to a stage show
where people are led in self-indulgent happiness parties,
swaying their arms and fluttering their eyelids;
being reassured of how special they are
to some modern-day surrogate “Jesus”
who just wants to be your pal.

You can even choose how YOU
want to “worship”: repetitious liturgy,
traditional with modernised American modification,
or contemporary hootenanny.
Whatever makes YOU feel ‘comfortable’.

Religious Humanism.
When the Christianity that once sought
to distance itself from paganism,
now imitates the paganism
(however much it insistently calls itself “Christian” ),
only the most deluded fantasists can imagine
that there is any discernment remaining in the world.

It is even a “sin” now … to Judge:
a characteristic of maturity that was once
recognised in the world at large as “Discernment”
– and which is absolutely commanded
throughout the Bible – Old Testament and New.

To espouse discernment in the 21st century,
is to be ignored, isolated, and even despised
– as a bitter, disgruntled, narrow-minded bigot.

The current human race has been re-created
– over the past forty years:  fist-shaking,
obscenity-spewing, Luciferian Man
… who has become, collectively, its own god.

Narcissism and Arrogance have replaced
every “value” that once distinguished
a human being from a beast:
Stand in any public place and look, and listen.

Fifty years ago, the young were set a mature example
by those who were older and wiser;
the ignorant were grateful to be corrected;
and people had the humility – and the gratitude,
… to learn.

Now, spreading “love” and “happiness in the world”
means letting people do whatever they want,
“as long as they do not ‘hurt’ anyone else” –

a sentiment whose wholesale immaturity
refuses to recognise that evil exists in this world
Precisely Because self-centred people live
to please themselves.

The marijuana-user who would have been
‘taken down town’ last year,
will now not get so much as a glance from police,
in society where marijuana is suddenly legal.

What was “wrong” before, is now “right”
at the stroke of world-governing pens in the U.N.

Strata Councils, Store Managers,
Community Authorities and Police apply “The Rules”
like weapons – rather than exercise a moral conscience
and apply discretion in unique, personal situations.

And as with all who blindly follow orders,
keeping that job with the power-trip of personal authority,
will Always outweigh any moral consideration
of whether What I Am Doing is right or wrong.

The stupid, blind, beast-like mind-set of
… “I’m just doing my job”.

People do not even listen
to the words that come out of their own mouths …

How many use ‘blogs’ and ‘YouTube’ to “expose”
the “dumbing down” of society,
the rise of greed, and the nastiness of people

… while casually punctuating their complaints
with filthy obscenities –

a trait which specifically reveals a lack of
intelligence, self control,
maturity, professionalism,
consideration for others,
and common decency.

The Irony is outrageous.

Others pontificate about the vanity-nurturing world
of “social media” in which multitudes
stupefy their own minds and intensify their own ego
by ‘blocking’ anything or anyone
that might challenge their complacency …

… and then proceed to tell their ‘followers’
to join them on Facebook and Twitter !

The Hypocrisy is scarce to be believed.

Friend, mentor, grandpa, John Hall,
at work in the Botanic Gardens, Belfast, c. 1960.
Following his death (and with the exception of my Dad),
the last Gentle Man I have ever met.

My first ‘professional’ gardening job was with him, in 1969,
removing stones from the garden beds outside the Tropical House.
Those beds still remain today – exactly as I remember them
from 50 years ago.

I would never betray his memory and example
by adopting the vicious, self-obsessed mentality

that is so openly characteristic of modern humanity.

Having twice attempted to delete this site
I have been bemused to find that folk still arrive here –
for what reason (other than amusement)
I cannot imagine.

People want the fantasy world where they
depend upon machines entirely;
live to be entertained and amused;
and are not required to Think in any capacity.

Whatever a screen tells them, they believe.
Their only concern: the veneration of “Me”.
Anything that requires moral restraint or humility
… is “offensive”.

This Internet Site will never be of any value
in a world such as that.

I know.

The silence of visitors has made that clear.

And THAT has been the reason
for the empty Internet site.

PL
2018

MARCH in the Garden … いしどうろう … ishidourou

March in the garden is the time to begin
the gardening year by walking systematically through
and taking note of what needs to be pruned and trained
for the year ahead.

During the last two weeks of March,
shrubs should probably be the first to receive
care and attention … with a pair of cleaned
and sharpened secateurs,

to remove all branches that are Dead, Diseased,
Damaged, and (what I call) Diagonal –
that is, growing inward towards the centre of the plant,
or at an undesirable angle.

With proper pruning, light and air
will now freely circulate throughout
the centre and interior of the plant.

When it is discovered that I make gardens
after the Japanese manner,
folk not infrequently seem compelled to ask
if I … “make Zen gardens”.

I had, initially, not the slightest idea –
and had to ask for an explanation
of the term.

The result of that query enlightened
both the inquirer and me:
the answer turned out to be .. “No”.

What was described to me seemed to be
Disneyland versions of what cinema-goers
think a Japanese Garden looks like.

Foliage.
Stone.
Water …

Yes, most assuredly, each of these is integral

… But, No –

No stone Buddhas;
No Red, Arch-shaped Bridges;
No concrete stepping-stones with katakana characters;
No statues of Geiko Maidens carrying pitchers of water.

Such things would no more occur to me
than would putting plastic leprechauns,
gnomes, or fairies, in a garden in Ireland.

The garden, surely, is a place to relate
… to Nature …
to the plants and animals that reside within
the confines of the well-tended garden ?

Features added to the garden ( I had always
– apparently bizarrely – imagined) should always
be “in keeping” with the natural surrounding –

a dry stone wall;
a fallen tree used as the front of a raised garden bed;
or a stone positioned as a directional guidepost.

But there is indeed one man-made feature
– only one –
that I would like to share with you
since few seem aware of what precisely it is.

While the only statuesque features, for me,
are the trees within the garden,

there is one object that, for me,
is indispensible in any serene setting,
and that is

an Ishidourou – いしどうろう

… the stone lantern.

Although Ishidourou may be found
in a staggering array of sizes and shapes,
the yama dourou is one that is
composed of natural stones.

Before moving to North America,
I had always appreciated the gentle flicker of flame
from the ishidorou’s lantern,
when enjoying the serenity of a quite evening
in our country garden back home.

( Tragically – perhaps unsurprisingly,
there now exists the appalling practice
of outfitting modern stone lanterns
with electrical cords and light bulbs:

Such barbarous tastelessness
will never remotely approach
the gentility of a candle
placed within the lantern’s chamber! )

It truly is a wonderful and soothing experience
to sit and enjoy a gentle breeze in the garden,
by the flickering glow of the lantern.

In the rare chance that it might be of interest
to one or two folk,
a few photographs of our lantern
taken after being given bath with soap and hot water,
and left to dry before being placed outside.

Illustrated here,
a candle may be slid gently
into the rear of the Light Chamber …

The flame will then flicker
through the stone ‘grill’ in front.

There is absolutely nothing
that removes one from the crude vulgarity,
inherent noise, and self-venerating barbarism
of 21st century humanity

than the flame of an Ishidourou
sending its warm glow,
and casting gentle shadows,
in the darkened surround
of a garden in the evening.

If you have never considered
(or perhaps, even seen) an Ishidourou,
I hope that these few words
may pique your interest.

PL

Cultivating Compassion: The Rose

This Internet site exists only because
I care enough about people to make an effort
to reason with those who will not give me
the time of day.

There has to have been, arguably,
no other time in history
when human beings, collectively, have been

( not merely so wilfully lacking in intellect
and selfishly oblivious to basic civility, but )

so defiantly Proud of their Ignorance and Vanity,

that they spew insult and obscenities
at those who would attempt to correct their error,
or remind them of common good manners.

The “boy who driveth the plough”
of William Tyndale’s day [ c.1523 ]
had the capacity to read a New Testament in English;

but masses of barely literate ‘adults’ today
cannot differentiate ‘there’, ‘their’, and ‘they’re’
– a disgusting fact of which the Internet
provides abundant proof.

Rather than be ashamed at the fact,
and grateful to those who would teach them;
vicious, arrogant creatures spew invective
at the … “Grammar Nazi’s” …
who would dare to help them to learn.

The greatest shock – and only “benefit” (?) –
of the Internet, for me, has been to reveal
not merely the depravity of the modern
human race in general,
but the selfishness of people on the whole.

Multitudes who cannot even spell properly,
and are without even the sense of responsibility
– the integrity – to ‘check their work’,

have the audacity to dispense “advice”
on the Internet,

to those who are without the capacity to think
– to discern – that something is manifestly wrong
with their “teacher”.

Ignorance, Error, and Apathy abound:
and no one cares.

The very nature of Gardening requires
conscientious thought, instils attention to detail
… and teaches patience.

It obliges the gardener
to pause long enough … To Think.

And in an Age that is absolutely Characterised
by wholesale Ignorance
and the blind pursuit of constant entertainment
by multitudes whose crude conduct
and vulgar conversation reveals them to have
a level of character that is lower than animals,

the ability to Think is something
that is desperately needed.

The human race into which I was born
has long since been replaced.

Where I have spent my life being grateful
to those who have corrected my error,
this is an age in which
anything more challenging than

“You’re perfect, just the way you are”

is regarded as an “insult”.

It interferes, I suppose,
with the Luciferian religion of “Self Esteem”

the arrogant veneration of … “Me”.

I believe that the GARDEN is a wonderful way
to cultivate Compassion, Tenderness,
the Humility to learn, and a sense of
what-was-once-known-as Personal Responsibility.

Roses are a wonderful way
to develop an interest in gardening.

The consistent appeal throughout this Internet site
has been that, for any conscientious person
to break this perverse obsession in modern humanity
of needing to spend every waking opportunity either

staring into the electronic screen
of some technological toy;

or seeking attention
through some form of vanity possession,

he or she must either exercise the mind
through the reading of quality books,

or exercise mind, body, and senses
by appreciating and caring for the natural world
– most especially, animals that suffer the Neglect,
Brutality, and Apathy of human beings.

Gardening, I have endeavoured to suggest,
will cultivate empathy, care,
and halt the modern propensity
to exist like a machine.

( It will also, of course, provide a peaceful setting
in which to sit and enjoy that quality book. )

Whether you live in a British Country Cottage;
or Tokyo Flat; or Modern Urban Townhouse –

Roses

will transform any balcony, patio, or garden
into a visually beautiful, fragrantly scented
setting that will

calm the nerves,
arouse an empathetic mind, and
foster an outside interest that will counter
both laziness, and the modern fixation
of being connected to a machine.

In a garden bed or suitable container,
all that the rose requires is friable, nutrient-laden soil,
at least four hours of sunshine,

and a gallon (about a 4-litre milk jug) of water
applied to the base of the rose every 3 days
(a necessity that is usually supplied by rainfall
from late autumn to early springtime).

Newly-planted roses will need water
every other day – a great way
to develop the habit of responsible care.

“How can I love anyone if I don’t love myself?”
has been the perverse mantra
of self esteem humanism
that has been trumpeted throughout the nations
since about 1990:

The answer is simple:

Remove that obscene “Me First” mindset.

Making a genuine physical and mental effort
will instil Compassion, Self-LESS-ness,
and Responsibility –

qualities which were not only instilled,
but expected – demanded – in us as children
in the 1960’s.

It will cultivate the HABIT of thinking
Less of ME … and More of Others.

Whatever effort you put in,
the garden will abundantly return.

A garden requires constant care and attention.
A Gardener is one who delivers that care and attention.

With Enthusiasm.

There is a world of difference between the words

“Survive” … and … “Thrive”.

Many a dog understands the directions
of an Inconsistent, Impatient, or highly Undeserving Owner;

but that is testimony to the intelligence of the dog
– Not the “training” from the owner.

Many a garden exists
due to the tenacity of plants to survive,
rather than to the attention afforded it
by an unworthy owner.

Gardening is ‘easy’ … IF … you have the right mindset.

Provide a good home for plants
and they will thrive and give you a wonderful display
of colour and scent.

Have the resolve to provide Sunshine,
gentle Watering, and healthy Soil;
and place them where they are not
‘bullied’ by neighbouring plants (3 feet of separation is fine)
or harsh weather … and you can grow roses.

And if that gets you away from further
deteriorating your own mind and conscience,
in front of a television or computer screen;

and acquaints you, instead,
with patience, diligence;
attention to detail, and responsibility,

your efforts in that garden
will have profoundly affected your life.

When I was growing up in the 1960’s and 70’s
people used to appreciate things;
used to care for things;
used to make the time to mend things.

Now, with this new version of “humanity”
people voice their disgust and impatience
at the slightest thing that does not go according to their lofty
and (more often than not) ignorant expectations.

Marriages, “friends”, the family dog
are of no more value to multitudes,
than a toy whose novelty has worn off.

“I cannot be bothered with it: throw it away.”

“What you said pricked my conscience –
it made me feel guilty.
I am having nothing to do with you ever again.”

Live your life with values higher than
what is popular with the modern masses
and you will – I assure you – experience
just how quickly “friends” will leave you alone.

This same disposable mindset is seen in a phrase
that has been bandied about since
a switch was thrown on humanity in the 1990’s –

“low maintenance garden”,

a term that means ‘I want the benefit of a garden,
but am too lazy to care for the plants that I want to enjoy.’

As a working gardener, I have never accepted any job
whose description includes the phrase
“low maintenance”, “barbeque” or “party”.
having neither interest or patience for those who treat the garden
as a backdrop to getting drunk and making noise.

Quite frankly, if you do not appreciate the plants,
you do not deserve to have them.

The garden is a collection of living things
that provide great beauty deserving of appreciation
by those who have more substance to their lives
than the vacuous hedonism of multitudes.

Caring for plants ( that offer no tangible love in return )
will make it a simple matter to extend compassion
and care to animals – as well as kind and deserving people.

The more you do, the more pleasurable
– and natural – kindness becomes.

Whether in a large garden, or diminutive balcony,
ROSES offer so much more than visual beauty
and fragrant aroma …

they can stimulate qualities in your life
that are so tragically lacking in the world today.

Care for a garden. Care for a rose.

And set a moral example to all who see you.

P Livingstone