Website of poet Elizabeth Rimmer

Living la Vida Lockdown-Here Comes the Sun

crimson peony against green leaves

It’s the warmest day so far, and the garden is looking quite pretty. I’m not the only one taking photos today – my daughter has caught me in the act of actual gardening, harvesting thyme.

me, harvesting thyme

I have moved on to the planting out stage, the tomatoes are in the greenhouse border, and the aubergines are in bigger pots. There are planters full of ammi majus, lupins and cerinthe, and fennel and agastache are in the borders. There are helichrysum, mollucella and nicandra which I will dry for winter flower arrangements, and annual seeds in the gaps left by the bulbs which have gone over. My initial optimism about the germination of said seeds has since been damped by the realisation that a lot of the green shoots have turned out to be hairy bittercress and willow herb, but you never know. The recent rain has done wonders for everything!

Mostly I include rather pleasnat pictures of my activities, but you’ll be glad to know there are no photos of the comfrey liquid I’ve just strained and stored in old milk cartons. It smells particularly vile, but it is rich in potassium and the tomatoes and fruit bushes will be getting a very healty watering of this stuff over the next few months. More photogenically, I have started to harvest my herbs, first making a dandelion muscle rub for aches and tightness, and a violet leaf oil for skin sensitivity, and now drying thyme on a rack I made years ago from a muslin nappy tacked to a frame of leftover 2×2 struts.

thyme leaves and flowers on a drying rack.

I’m also making chive flower vinegar, which is coloured implausibly pink, and has a faint onion taste in salad dressings

Poetry is harder to come by. You might like to see, among many other good things, a poem I have in the latest edition of Stravaig, but there is very little new work of my own happening just now. However, I have started work on a new Red Squirrel Press pamphlet to be published in October, so I haven’t lost all my poetry muscles!

In Scotland we hope to hear more about the roadmap for coming out of lockdown tomorrow. It has been an anxious time, but one that has brought out both the best in our communities, and the strange and dangerous gaps in our politics economy and social and environmental thinking. I’m sure many people have been thinking how we can implement the lessons we have learned!





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