Extract from The Wild Honeysuckle By Philip Freneau

Fair flower, that dost so comely grow,
Hid in this silent, dull retreat,
Untouched thy honied blossoms blow,
Unseen thy little branches greet ...

Ah! The satisfaction of a hard day's labour in the garden, and then to sit down with a beer and admire the handiwork. With a sigh and a smile I can feel content (nostalgic...). A new beginning, neater, tidier, (emptier...), got to be cruel to be kind, especially in the garden (in love...), cut out the surplus, make room for new growth, to feel the sun and breathe the fresh air.

According to Dr Bach, he of the Flower Remedy fame, honeysuckle is ... 'for people who live in the past instead of the present ... perhaps a time of great happiness, or memories of a lost friend'.

Hacking and chopping the honeysuckle, back, back, back. All the new leafy green shoots gone, I doubt it will flower this side of mid summer now (perhaps this is a good thing ...). Slashing back three years of growth, would the weight (joy...) of three years of memories fly from my shoulders, would I be free (forget? ... never!) of the strings that pull at my heart? I'm not even sure that is even a remedy I would wish for.

And I'm thinking that Dr Bach must be a pretty canny chap to associate honeysuckle with nostalgia. No-one can surely forget, even in winter's darkest months, the heady aroma and not recall the warmth of the summer's night air and the shade of love and laughter and friendship all wrapped up in the same bundle?

More memories. Woodbine, the name for honeysuckle, and also the name of my grandfather's cigarettes (the ones that probably killed him). I recall feelings of warmth listening to his stories, absorbing the wealth of his knowledge of the garden and growing things. A quiet man, but he taught me to love the seasons. I am closer to his heart in the garden than anywhere else on earth, and that's without doubt.

Ah Spring! My glass is empty now and I reluctantly come back to the present. Looking again at the garden, seeing the new space where there was once a confused and twisted tangle, I look forward to the simple pleasures of renewed life.