In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, I opened up this blog to guest submissions, as I know firsthand that writing about plants and gardening can be cathartic. I will be posting a guest post each Thursday; if you would like to submit yours, please email email@example.com.
Here, Amanda Davies shares her story, The Sea of Green, which is about gardening during stressful times. She mentiones how the responsibility of caring for our plants can help ease the fear that we have for our own health. Read on, and comment using the comment box at the end of the post to join the conversation.
There’s something magical happening in my greenhouse. It’s changing me, or is the change happening within me?
I’m feeling desperately stressed right now. My anxiety and panic levels are building. I’m unfocused. I find myself pacing around the bungalow not knowing what to do. I start things then change tasks without realising I haven’t finished the first. Half scribbled lists in the kitchen remind me of what I am meant to be doing today.
Yet here in my greenhouse I feel safe. I pick up a small potted poppy and feel its weight for watering then look underneath for slugs. If I find one it gets flicked into our wildlife border where it can munch on whatever it wants.
I replace the poppy pot and begin the process again. I have over eighty potted poppies that I grew from seed last September. Why can I focus on this task, but cannot finish making the bedroom tidy inside? I’ve made the bed, but the collection of books and magazines on the floor next to it need to be put away.
It’s March so the wind is still biting, rain showers hit the roof of the greenhouse sounding louder than they would if I was in the house, but I’m snug inside this safe den even though it is unheated. Whilst my hands are busy with the plants my mind begins to make sense of what’s bothering me. The conclusion is that I am running scared.
Wales, like the rest of the UK and in fact the world, is gripped by the Coronavirus. A pneumonia type illness that has no cure. It’s killing thousands, and I am terrified it will kill me.
I’m in the vulnerable category of getting severe complications if I catch it because I was born with Fallot’s Teretology, but more recently I had an embolism in my heart caused by chemotherapy treatment for my ovarian cancer. The heart damage was only just put right in May 2019 when I had a double heart valve transplant; so now maybe you can see why I’m running scared. I might be forty-five but right now I don’t feel like an adult, I want someone to tell me everything will be okay.
My mechanical heart valve working and the birds singing are the only sounds I hear after the rain stops as I sit on my stool checking plants. Tick, tick tick – the valve opening and closing. For a second my anxiety wants to explode as I think I didn’t go through everything these last four years to be struck down with an unprecedented viscous flu.
And then the magic happens – the sea of green poppy leaves calls me closer, making me stare at their intricate patterns. The smell of damp earth calms me. The plants seem to be saying ‘we need you, we won’t survive if you don’t water, feed and plant us out in the garden just before May’. And they are right, they need me – though I just hope they know that, right now, I need them more.
About the author
Amanda Davies is on Twitter as @AmandaRake2Bake. You can also follow her Ray Bradbury Challenge, where she reads a short story, poem and essay each night for 1000 nights. Finally, Amanda also has blog called Live Positive!, which you can read through here.
So honestly and well written, by someone I have personally known for almost 20 years. With all you’ve gone through Amanda, you are the bravest, kindest, supportive and most positive person I’ve ever known. Carry on being you, and bringing joy/smiles to lots with all your posts. Sending love, Cat xx
Mr Plant Geek
Thank you Cat xx
That’s my darling daughter who I fell in love the moment she was placed in my arms on yes wait for it Friday 13th premature and gutsy beating all odds of survival when growing up she always had pen and paper I’m going to be a writer when I grow up she’d say!……well Amanda your an amazing brave but you have a fire in your belly and determination of an eagle when you want that prey we all have that inner strength to achieve our goals soar high grab life with both hands and enjoy your journey of the green sea 🌊 love 💕 your proud mum 🌹🌊🌹🌊💋💋💋
I loved reading your words Amanda I think you are truly inspirational and I always have keep writing you take us all on your journey and peace with your plants! My favourite flower is the poppy! Lots of love Auntie Marikaxx
Thank you Auntie Marika, such lovely words, especially as you know exactly where I am coming from. When this virus situation is over I will do my best to bring you a poppy from my garden xx
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Thank you mum. Love what you have written here. Thank you for being brilliant. I hate that we can’t see each other in person because of the virus, but social distancing is what we all need to do right now xx