Lacquered ladybirds

Ladybirds were flying today. They approach like elegant helicopters, nano-automatons looking for a place to hide.

Slamming into a warm wall, he busies himself folding crumpled wings beneath sharp enamel cases and searches out a corner of ancient masonry. The warmest nooks are already populated by constellations of red and black, charging down with October’s last sun.

With six legs to hunker down, this hemispherical slice of a red and black dice will fly again.


Morning mists and the last geese overhead herald hedgecutting season.

The old yew hedge stands eight feet high and nearly as wide. A 2-stroke oil stained cutter slides down the sides with minimal guidance, blue smoke seeping from the freshly cut surface . The upper surface presents more of a challenge. I dream of a pair of snowshoe boards which will allow me to walk along the top surface flattening it strimmer style. Or fine stilts which penetrate the new growth and allow me to stride through, scything as I go.

The only special tool I have is patience, and a ladder. Climb up cut climb down climb up cut climb down climb up cut climb down.


Excerpt from Andrew Marvell’s ‘The Garden’

Meanwhile the mind from pleasure less

Withdraws into it’s happiness;

The mind, that ocean where each kind

Does straight it’s own resemblance find;

Yet it creates, transcending these,

Far other worlds, and other seas;

Annihilating all that’s made

To a green thought in a green shade.


This poem inspired the title of Sir Steven Tallents’ publication Green Thoughts. The book documents some of his time living at St John’s Jerusalem which he passed to the National Trust in the 1950’s. In my role as head gardener at St John’s, I feel that it is permissible for me to take that title for this journal of documentation, meditation and reflection.