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Written January 2020 at the start of my floral project.

A little bit of research and I discover that there is a specialist rose grower in the UK called David Austin.

And David Austin not only breeds the most beautiful roses you’ve ever seen in your life, but then I discover that if you tell them a little about your garden – they will actually design you a rose garden.


So they’ll tell me exactly what I need to do – this way I can’t possibly get it wrong.


The deer.

I’m going to have to tell them about the deer.

Maybe I should pretend I don’t have deer because I KNOW they’re going to tell me that roses love to eat deer (I’ve googled it – there are horror stories a-plenty).


I’m going to tell them about the deer.

My email to them (except in bits in quotes that are for your eyes only):

“Hi, I’m about to use your rose garden design service [I’m going to spend a LOT of money with you, so tell me what I want to hear], but first wanted to as this question… We live on what used to be a Rose Farm so I’m guessing we have perfect conditions for roses [maybe I can convince you that the deer have never been a problem in the past and that I perhaps have some family rose-growing lineage that gives me some credibility despite the stupid question I’m about to ask]. However we have deer in the garden. Does this make growing David Austin roses impossible before I waste your team’s time on asking for help! Thanks for your help.

It is blatantly obvious what I would like you to say in reply to this email:

"Good that you asked, we have just developed a deer-resistant strain of roses and we’ve been looking for somewhere to trial it, can we provide you with 100 roses at no cost to your good self?.”

24 hours later – the reply (again, comment in brackets mine and most definitely not actually said by David Austin’s team. To me anyway.)

“Good afternoon, Thank you for your email. Generally roses can be grown anywhere, however there is always the threat of pests and wildlife attacking roses. We do often hear of pesky deer nibbling away at rose flowers and they can be quite fatal to rose beds, the thing is that deer are fairly hard to deter. There are certain solutions (such as high protective fencing and certain scents which scare them off), but generally they are quite fearless. If the deer roam freely in or around the garden it might be best not to spend the money on a lovely rose bed.” [Bugger off and don’t waste my time, you have zero chance of growing any of our roses].

You think you’d throw your hands up in despair at the impossibility of this project. Not me. Well, me, for about 20 minutes. I’m pretty discouragement-proof.

But then my husband pointed out that, before I start spending a huge amount of money on roses either I, or the deer, will certainly kill, did I know we actually already HAVE roses in our garden? I knew we had a couple but not really know.

Because I’m not a gardener, I’m a ‘sit on the patio with a G&Ter’ so venturing down the garden hasn’t actually really happened, even though we’ve been here 6 years, I’m ashamed to say.

Gardens are for looking out at, not actually trudging around in. So I go take a look. And what I see are the trunks (are they called trunks?) of rose plants all along our wall.

Spaced out with one rose per section of the wall. Neglected. Trunky. VERY spikey.

THIS I can work with. Everything I need for this project is already there – waiting for me to suddenly notice it.

This is the way of it with creative projects I’ve always found. An idea. A step forward. A smack in the face. Self-doubt. (Most people give up at this point).

A stepping -back. A new idea. A step forward. A smack in the face. Self-doubt. (Most people DEFINITELY give up at this point).

A stepping -back. A new idea. A step forward. A smack in the face. Self-doubt. And so it goes on.

And out of this cycle, if you see it’s all just part of the journey and don’t quit in the self-doubt phase, beautiful things get created.

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