Firstly, an apology – I truly didn’t mean to “disappear” for so long without so much as a by-your-leave. I know people just stop blogging from time to time, and I always appreciate it when people say, rather than just disappearing, because otherwise you can just be left wondering. It was only supposed to be a few days, which turned into a few weeks, which can now be counted in months. Secondly, a huge thank you to the many people who got in touch via email or comments to ask how I was and wish me well, I truly appreciate it.

So what happened? I got depressed. I’ve never been depressed before. I’ve supported others, seen it at close hand, have known what it looks like from the outside for years. Its different from the inside, as many of you will know. Interestingly, it was gardening that made me realise that things had become rather serious. I always look forward to the seed catalogues arriving, and as they drop through the door have a bad habit of ignoring whatever it is that I am supposed to be doing in favour of ripping the covering plastic off and settling in for a good long browse, and an even longer daydream. This year I suddenly realised that I had over a dozen piled up, all still unopened, and I didn’t care. I’ve been really lucky, in that it doesn’t seem to have lasted as long as I was beginning to fear it would. And again, it was gardening – or rather the garden – that finally gave me my first true grin of delight in months. I ventured outdoors in search of parsley for a fish pie and found myself entranced by the sight of iris reticulata flowering away.

iris reticulata
iris reticulata
Anthiscus Sylvestris Seedlings

Anthriscus sylvestris seedlings sown in the late summer are popping up, despite having been totally neglected.

emerging "spare" daffs

Amongst the many bulbs pushing their way up above the soil are the “spare” daffodlis, ready to be distributed around the garden to brighten things up. Even better, the tulips that were planted out more in hope than expectation a couple of years ago are apparently determined to at least give me leaves this year:

tulips return

And I couldn’t fail to be impressed by the scabious, which has stubbornly carried on flowering, all through the winter – so far, anyway.


Suddenly, everywhere I looked, plants were emerging, and I realised that, finally, so was I, for which I am profoundly grateful.

78 thoughts on “Emerging

  1. So glad to have you back I have missed your posts and keeping up to date with your garden adventures. Hope you are now back up to full strength and not letting the demons get you down. I must say I feel as though I have lost my ‘mojo’ at the moment hopefully it will pass – just the thought of everything that needs doing makes me feel tired.

    1. Hi Elaine, thank you, it is good to be back! Having just been through weeks of not even being able to look out of the window because all I could see were jobs needing to be done, I sympathise, and I hope you find a double dose of mojo soon. I think it is often hard to get going again at this time of year.

  2. I second Elaine. I am glad you are back and was wondering what happened. I missed your posts and seeing you around. I can imagine what pain being depressed had caused you and wish you well in your recovery. I am glad the garden is giving you the spark you need to feel yourself again.

    1. Thanks Donna, it is good to blogging again, and starting to catch up on other people’s blogs too. I feel so out of touch!

  3. Hi Janet,

    So glad to see a post from you :)

    Also thrilled to see the Iris – I noticed around 30 mins ago that mine are almost bloomg too. My discovery of the day, however was an Anemone blooming! Last year they bloomed at the end of March. It’s been a weird couple of years.

    It would seem the plants think it’s time to get going!

    1. Hi Liz, it is good to be back! Congrats on your anemone, no sign of mine yet, but everything seems to be rather ahead of itself. I just hope they don’t get cut off in their prime by a late and vicious visit by true winter…

  4. Glad to have you back Janet. Depression is hard, I hope you are moving forward and have less sadness. The sight of new growth is wonderful. I love having seedlings sprouting and growing without a lot of attention. Good for them!! Embrace new growth outside and in!

    1. Thanks Janet, it has been a really tough spell, so it is wonderful to be able to take pleasure from the garden again. And yes, hurrah for seedlings that look after themselves!!

  5. So sorry that you have been down – winter can do that – I have people close to me suffering from depression and so I know how difficult it can be. It seems to be that you see something taking over your body and emotions and can do nothing about it!

    I hope you are getting back on form!

    1. Hi Sue, it is a dreadful illness to contend with, but I have seemingly been comparatively lucky, in that I do feel that I am getting back to my true self after what is a relatively short time. Sorry to hear people close to you are suffering, it is hard to watch, I know from experience.

  6. Janet, we’ve stepped back into the arena together. I hadn’t blogged for several weeks, even the New Year’s post was hard as I also felt very down, not sure why. The longer you leave it the harder it gets and I found that I didn’t want to write, or garden. Today I’ve forced myself, over many cups of coffee, to stick with it and just write something. And, do you know, it worked (for me, at least, if not my readers!). Hopefully we’re both now back and looking forward to the growing season. Lovely to have you back. Caro x

    1. Hi Caro, so sorry to hear you have been down too, and you are right, the longer you leave it the harder it gets to venture back in to the blogosphere. Three cheers to you for going for it, and yes, lets hope that we are both now able to embrace the new growing season.

  7. Hi Janet – I was waiting for your return, I thought you were moving house. Sorry to hear about your depression. Just remember we’re all rooting for you!

    Your miniature iris are flowering before mine. I’m trying them for the first time this year. I selected them because they seem more in proportion to the regular irises which grow up to my height with relative small flowers at the top.

    1. Hi b-a-g, the moving house thing won’t happen until later this year, but how lovely to hear you were waiting for me! And thank you, it helps so much to have people out there on my side.

      I adore miniature iris, and I agree, they are beautifully in proportion, so I hope you really enjoy yours. Some “big” iris can be more leaf than flower, though I must admit I’ve never grown any that are my height!!

  8. Janet it is so good to see you back, and what better way to aid recovery than a good dose of gardening, always worked for me. Great to see the Reticulata flowering so early. I planted dozens of them in Autumn, they are popping through the ground, probably they will start to flower in three weeks time.

    1. Thanks Alistair, it is so good to be able to enjoy the garden again. I love the sound of dozens of reticulata, can’t wait to see the photos, I only have one small bowl.

  9. Welcome back! I am so sorry to hear about your bout with depression. I, too, have suffered from this lingering malady mostly in times of loss. It is a difficult thing to experience. I with you well and hope your irises light up your days. They are so colorful!

    1. Thank you, it is great to be back. Sorry to hear you too have first hand experience of depression, it really is a horrid thing to deal with. Hopefully I am now over the worst, and can look forward to enjoying the crocuses, narcissi and hellebores to come.

  10. Welcome back to Blogland, Janet. We missed you! You must have been in a bad way if you didn’t want to browse the seed catalogues. A real Recusant!
    Those Irises of yours are lovely. I have only one flowering so far, but hopefully the others are not too far off now.

    1. Hi Mark, I have missed it, actually more accurately I have missed missing it, if that makes any sense! Hope your irises show in quantity.

  11. Welcome back, lovely to hear from you and see such wonderful pictures, the Iris is an amazing colour. Hope you are feeling much better, the ‘proper’ Spring can’t come soon enough. Take care x

    1. Thank you Alison, I am feeling loads better. I do adore the deep purple of the irises, particularly with the splashes of yellow setting it off.

  12. Nothing like a a little bit of nature to help lift the mood. I need a bit of sunshine and light and finding getting out with the dog and P helps. I’ve stopped looking at the catalogues as they come through the door. I find them all a bit overwhelming.

    1. Hi Janet, hope you get your sunshine, it certainly helps. I do know what you mean about catalogues being overwhelming, I’ve not started opening mine yet.

  13. Dear Janet – had assumed you were hibernating in preparation for the changes to come in your life, with the move etc and saying au revoir to the garden. Gardening is a 2 edged sword – it can add to the demands that depression is overburdened with and other times, when it carries on regardless, makes us feel that we can too. Glad you’ve found your feet as well as these lovely flowers blooming in spite of everything. The Irises prove that sometimes the blues can be downright uplifting. Lovely to have you back :)

    1. Hi Laura, thank you for yet another wonderfully insightful comment. The hibernation was involuntary, unfortunately, and you are right about the two-edged sword, but your “blues” comment is spot on!

  14. So glad you are back Janet. Depression can just strike or sneak in I should say at any time. The winters are always the hardest it seems. I am glad to hear that you are fighting back and getting into the gardening again. Those irises are just so beautiful Gardening is my outlet too so I can understand how it helps you. Sometimes our fellow bloggers take breaks from blogging so we never realize that they may be having problems at home. You take care and Have a wonderful week.

    1. Hi Lona, thanks for the supportive comment, hope your garden gives you whatever you need. I’ve put the irises up on a table in the garden so that they are easy to see – between them and glimpses of snowdrops through the windows, I’m definitely much more cheerful.

  15. I have to admit I thought you were simply caught up in getting the house ready for market and hadn’t time for blogging at the moment. Sorry to hear that the reality was you weren’t feeling well. I am very glad to see you back though and glad you chose to come back.

    1. Hi Marguerite, ‘afraid the getting the house ready is next up, and may well mean blogging is sporadic, but I’ve given myself January off, hoping to garner some energy for all the painting. At least the re-planting outside will give me an outdoors outlet when I am bored of paint brushes!! It’s very nice to be back in blogland though.

  16. Oh Janet so glad to see you emerging as the days lighten. It sounded as if you had a lot on your plate towards the end of last year, which probably took its toll on both body and mind. Take things day by day and don’t ask too much of yourself ((((())))) Isn’t it amazing the way that the contents of the greenhouse and garden can thrive without our tender ministrations. They must know that we are coming back.

    1. Hi Anna, yes I think you are right, the stresses and workload of the end of last year proved too much, funny how the body finds ways to stop you in your tracks when you refuse to listen to the warning signs!! I hope I have learned my lesson and will not be rushing in to the next bout of decorating. I sometimes think my seedlings do better when I ignore them, at least until they get root bound…

  17. Hi Janet, welcome back :) I did wonder where you were but just presumed you were busy with the looming house move and all. Glad to know you have managed to shake off your blues. It’s not always easy to see through outside when you are surrounded by clouds but it’s good that gardening helped you pull through. The healing powers of Iris reticulata and other spring bulbs :)

    1. Thank you, good to be back – and I’m sure there will be future ‘outages’ due to the moving thing. I’m looking forward to catching up with your pond project…

  18. I’m so glad you’re back and are doing better. :) I also thought you were busy getting ready for your move. It looks like Nature knew just what you needed. So much healing in such a beautiful little package.

    1. I wish!! It would mean my “to do” list was shorter… The irises are certainly flowering at the perfect time for me, even if they are a few weeks earlier than they normally are. I’m not complaining!

  19. Janet, I’m so glad you’re beginning to feel more like yourself and so thankful that you’re finding joy in your sweet irises…I’ve missed you. Hugs from afar, Cat.

    1. Thank you Cat, those irises are sat out there like small but perfect jewels, the glow in the grey light. I’ve missed you too, it is good to be back!

  20. Hi Janet: Like b-a-g and Laura, I assumed you were taking a blog rest. I was just about to send you an email when I saw your comment on my blog, and it made my day. I have missed your incredible photos and your insightful descriptions of your garden and your planting experiences. Welcome back! ~Beth

  21. Janet, I’m so glad you’re feeling better. It is a coincidence as when I opened my emails this morning it was with the intention of emailing you to make sure you were OK. I had assumed hte house sale had gone through and you were enormously busy packing etc. Happy New Year, really. I was seriously depressed some years ago and it lasted for over a year, I’m glad you haven’t suffered so long. Welcome back to the blogging world and life in geneeral. With love, Christina

    1. Hi Christina, I think part of the reason the depression was able to take hold was the seemingly overwhelming amount of work we need to do before we can get the house on the market. I feel so very fortunate to have (cross fingers) escaped so comparatively lightly, I had been assuming it was going to last a lot longer that it has. it is very good to be back in a world that has colour and texture again.

  22. Like everyone else I thought you were in the throws of moving, so sorry to hear that it was your health that was suffering. Gardens and flowers are great healers aren’t they, hopefully you will now feel better day by day.Early indicators of spring lift all our spirits and your Iris reticulata is working its magic on you!

    1. Hi Pauline, it seems I could have just ignored my own absence and bounced back in to it all without explanation! Somehow that felt less than honest, and besides, I know that so many others struggle with the grey beast of depression, and it still doesn’t get talked about much. I am thrilled to be able to notice the garden again, hopefully it will keep me going through the busy months ahead as we get to grips with the moving thing. So much to do, so little time…

  23. Lovely to see you back, Janet. Glad that the doldrums could not pin you down. Winter is always the hardest time.
    Good to see that your garden is flourishing too; those irises look delicious :). Something I definitely need to add to our garden this year.
    Take care, Sara x

    1. Hi Sara good to be back – and yes, definitely plant some iris, they would fit in beautifully in your evolving garden.

  24. And may it last.

    Depression is horrid and under-understood. It’s difficult to live through and difficult to live with. It’s hard to support someone one loves who is depressed. In that way, it’s a shared illness and, because of that, it can be infectious. It’s also a wonderful relief when it passes. May fresh air and green shoots keep it away.

    Nothing one can say can be adequate. Yet anything one says may be too much.

    Best wishes and thoughts with you.


    1. Esther, you wonderful woman, you absolutely get it, and said exactly enough, and beautifully as ever. There are definitely some things one would prefer not to understand so well! At least I now have yet another reason to guard my energy levels more carefully, I don’t want to give the wretched monster another foothold if I can help it. I don’t think I have ever been so thrilled by flowers as I was by the irises and snowdrops, mostly because I was thrilled that I cared again! xx

  25. So glad you’re back Janet. I did wonder whether you might be not feeling too good after your last post at the end of last year. Plants and gardening have got me through difficult times too. I think the sense of hope and optimism that seeing new plants and seedlings emerging is good for the spirit. January is a difficult month at the best of times. I think it can be easier to feel positive when the sun shines. looking forward to reading more of your posts in the New Year. Best wishes, Wellywoman x

    1. Thank you, I agree, seeing all that new growth is a boost to the spirits, if one can be bothered to notice. I’m glad to be able to take pleasure in such things again.

  26. I’m so glad you’re surfacing. Depression is a bastard – it plagues my mother’s side of the family – and it’s such a relief when the sun starts to peek out from behind that big sludgy black cloud. That’s also true literally, and I’m sure the gorgeous, luminous reticulatas have helped…

    Lots of good wishes, and I do hope that’s it with the depression for now. Turn your back on it, and spit in its general direction while doing so. How dare it bother you?!

    1. Hi Kate, sorry to hear your Mum’s side of the family suffer, it is such a horrid illness. I love your advice – and spit I shall!

  27. It’s good to know that you’re okay! I had a bit of an off week last week and I’m sure that for us gardeners it’s down to the time of year as much as anything.
    Thanks for a lovely post and pictures as always! Take care, Flighty xx

    1. Hi Flighty, sorry you have had an off week, it is a hard time of year, though thank goodness the days are now noticeably longer. Hope this week is a better one for you. xx

  28. Glad to hear you’re back on track. Depression is a sad and lonely journey. Kudos to you for being honest with yourself and finding the strength to post about it. I often find, in times of sadness, that a good dig in the dirt can bring a smile to my face.

    1. Hi Denine, and thank you. I am very fortunate in that TNG has been tremendously supportive and understanding, having battled the same thing many times with great courage. I’ll know I am truly back when I have dirt under my finger nails again!

  29. So glad to see you back, Janet! I, too, was wondering what had happened, but I thought you might be getting ready to move. I’m so sorry to hear that you haven’t been well, but I’m happy you’re feeling better. Bravo to you for being so honest–depression can affect anyone, and yet it is still misunderstood. I’m glad the garden has helped you recover–it’s wonderful therapy to see the promises of spring. Those irises certainly cheer me up!

    1. Hi Rose, very good to be back – and now all I have to do is get the house ready to sell!! Glad the irises cheered you, they are beautiful.

  30. Even thought I don’t “know” you I can feel the kindness in your words. Depression can be such an awful thing that can rob us of our blessings. My wife struggles with it as well as her family. Good luck in overcoming your struggles, may God bless you! Enjoy your garden!

    1. Thank you Greggo. I’m so sorry to hear about your wife – and her family – it really is a rotten illness to have. Hard on the nearest and dearest of the sufferers too. I hope this is a good year for you and yours.

  31. How many times have I sat at my computer and am I going to write? When life seems dark, what do I have to say? And usually, after a time, some little trickle of light pokes through and I start thinking about plants and remember how they make me happy. I’m glad you’re writing again and look forward to reading your words.

    1. Hi Elaine, thank you for your comment, how lovely that thoughts of plants help you break through the blerk and write.

  32. Janet, I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been through a bad patch, and glad that you are feeling better. It must be wonderful to get back with your plants, esp those reticulatas – great photos :)

    1. Hi Cyndy, it is good to be back from the black, so to speak, and able to enjoy plants again, and to re-engage with others. The irises certainly help!

  33. Hi Janet, glad you found your gardening mojo – it is difficult to see the positive sometimes. I don’t really get depressed either but I have struggled a little this last year and wondered about a nice job in an office with … people. To talk to. And everything. Keep your chin up and if I had some 40 year old whisky I would certainly send you some. D

    1. Hi David. I can see that your job must feel rather isolating at times. Its years since I worked in an office, but I still miss the camaraderie – and the gossip at the coffee maker! Sorry to hear you have been struggling a bit with the loneliness of it all, it is easy to read your posts about working in such a beautiful place and feel envious, but there are downsides to most things in life. Hope this is a good year for you – and the Priory!

  34. Welcome back Janet, glad you’re feeling better and I’ve missed your wonderful photos over the last few weeks.

  35. I have those same beauties in my yard. I am pleased to hear that you are on an up swing. So glad that spring is returning to where you are to help. It gives me hope to see your flowers! Julie

    1. Hi Julie, those irises are lovely, aren’t they. Hope Spring arrives for you soon! It snowed here today…

  36. This post has really struck a chord with me….

    Glad to see you back. Plants, gardening and the great outdoors will give you the strength you need to get through. Spring is just around the corner and you have some great blogging friends here giving you lots of support, I’m sure that brings some comfort. Take care Janet x

    1. Hi Karen, thanks, it has been a little overwhelming, the support I’ve had from the blogging fraternity. Hope you are doing OK too.

  37. So sorry to hear you’ve had the dreaded dark times. They are the pits though happily now I find I’ve learnt from the experience and can look upon those times as a positive experience.

    Time heals, thank goodness, so make sure you take as much time as you need :)

    Lovely to see you back.

    1. Hi VP, thanks for the message. Still taking it slowly, one day at a time, but it is good to be back in the blogosphere, much less isolating.

  38. I know I’m a bit late on the block, but I’m so pleased you and your garden are grinning again. I saw that same iris today, up here, when all else is looking weary, it’s cheerful wings lifted me.

    Nice to see you.

    1. Hi Fay, nice to see you too! The irises are still blooming, though my grins have been slipping. Happily the garden can take care of itself for now, and the snowdrops and crocuses will cheer me up despite myself!

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