Celebrate RHS #NationalGardeningWeek This year’s theme is “the joy of gardening”. Day Four. Please join Peter Donnelly, Margaret Royall and I. I will feature seven of your published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks, one for each day of the week about gardening including your favourite flowers, the gift of flowers, your lawn etc. Please include a short third person bio. This includes vegetables and fruit. What work have you created that celebrates growing and nurturing? Have you written about planting trees, planting seeds, harvest time, spring. About gardens through the seasons? What does your garden do for you? Have you seven poems/short prose/artworks so I can feature your creativity over the whole week, one per day?

Day Four

may blossom

A May Blossom


Fingers gnarled by time’s relentless curse
tremble as she rips the packet open

Mary, Mary, pick up your willow basket,,
it’s time to make your garden grow again!

Seeds rattle, jangle like forest creatures’
sudden chatter, fierce raindrops after drought

Mary, will you sow sweet meadow flowers
in wild profusion as you did as a child?

Seeds spill out, jewels sacrificed from April’s crown;
a chain of broken gems cascading, scattering…

Time waits for no man, Mary, be quick now,
Swoop like a magpie, make your garden grow!

They hit the cobbles, roll into far flung crevices…
The eager soil receives sustenance

Oh Mary, nothing good will come of this!
They say that you are too contrary, girl

On scissor hands and groaning knees she grubs around,
gathering up her grains of cruel dementia

How will your garden thrive now, Mary?
Nature alone cannot turn weeds to flowers!

A frisson of guilt travels down her crumpling spine
Somehow she must rewild this cottage plot

Oh Mary, Mary, soon it will be too late,
Call up your pretty maids to plant and sow

She wrings her hands, fumbles with her apron strings,
slumps against the door jamb, all hope spent.

*First published in my collection Where Flora Sings

-Margaret Royall

Lament for Lemon Trees

I hate to slice a lemon
and cut through a pip

that’s green inside.
It’s like cracking an egg

and finding the foetus
of a chicken. But the seed

would have sprouted,
the chick would not.

I think of the tree
I could have grown

like those that touched the ceiling
at Elmfield Gardens,

had to be left behind,
too tall for the new house.

-Peter J Donnelly


Wife says I must clear weeds and thorned nettles
from beneath our leafy Sycamore tree.
Long tendrils with large leaves test my mettle.
I fetch long loppers, clip back the crazy.

Thankyou to these large tough rigger gloves rip
out the spiked plants, uncover a smaller
Sycamore that needs pruning to its tip.
All the propellers have sprouted taller.

Not a tree hugger I apologise
to parent tree for uprooting it’s young
lopping off its limbs, being garden wise.
I tame it’s wilderness, curtail its sum.

My excuse is I am never on trend.
Older I get harder it is to bend.

(from My Many Acts Of Random Wildness)

-Paul Brookes

Bios And Links

Peter J Donnelly

lives in York where he works as a hospital secretary. He has a degree in English Literature and a MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales Lampeter. He has been published in various magazines and anthologies including Dreich and Writer’s Egg, where some of these poems have previously appeared. Last year he won second prize in the Ripon Poetry Festival competition.

-Margaret Royall

Margaret  Royall has six books of poetry published. She has appeared widely in print, in webzines and  poetry anthologies. She has won or been short-listed in several competitions and her collection ‘Where Flora Sings’, published by Hedgehog Press, was nominated for the Laurel Prize in 2021. Her latest collection, ‘Immersed in Blue’ was published in January 2022 by Impspired Press. She leads a women’s poetry group in Nottinghamshire and takes part in open mic sessions online and in person. She is currently working on a third poetry collection.

Website: https://margaretroyall.com/ Twitter:@RoyallMargaret

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