500 followers and a bit of everything.

Yes, it is official. WordPress tells me that at least 500 people are deranged or kind enough to follow my blog.

This confirms my suspicions that there are lots of lovable eccentrics out there. Or 500 of you at least.

To celebrate this I decided on a post that includes a bit of everything you can expect to see on here. This gives you new followers a chance to say ‘sod this for a game of soldiers’ and disappear quietly.

Mental Health Updates.

Have not had one of these for a while. (For you newbies – basically I am fighting back after living with depression and anxiety for decades. ) I started seeing a counsellor a month or so ago, my first experience of Person Centred Counselling. Until this week I was not sure how effective this was being. At this weeks appointment I described feeling that I was walking a knife edge between a better future on one side, and giving up on the other. The preceding few days had been an emotional rollercoaster from great joy some days, to despair and frustration on others. I was not sure which side of the knife edge I was going to fall on. But since my counselling session great strides have been made. Concrete travel plans are now in place, as well as some other small victories. I am still taking citalopram and it really has helped. My counsellor told me that her impression of citalopram was that as well as easing depression it allows a person’s authentic self to be revealed. I would agree with that now.

Health, exercise.

I am still doing 5 sessions at the gym each week. Fridays are now not possible due to the gym opening hours changing. Swimming lessons have been cancelled (not by me) for several weeks now, each week for a different reason (pool or staffing issues). They are due to start again June 4th. Recent activity at work has seriously affected my gym attendance some weeks and I got rather out of shape but am slowly bouncing back. Eventual plan is to add a weekly swimming session to my exercise routine on Friday nights or weekend evenings after the lessons are done with.

Things I have been up to in recent weeks.

Holehird/Lowther. We had a day out visiting gardens in the Lake District. These included the wonderful Lakeland Horticultural Society garden at Holehird near Windermere, and the gardens at Lowther Castle

Botanical walk. On Saturday the 19th I went on a botanical walk led by Dr Phil Lusby from the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. This was organised by Susan’s boss Tom, who had been a student of Phil’s. It set off from Tom’s nursery and visited various nature reserves in the Southern Lake District, including Humphrey Head – where legend has it that the last wolf in England was killed in the late 14th century. Photo from Tom Attwood’s Twitter:  I am the dude in the middle looking like a reject from a Seattle band circa 1990 in his lumberjack shirt and scruffy jeans…


Here is a lovely pic of the huge numbers of buttercups open in the sun at Humphrey Head, and a view across the bay towards Walney Island:


Whilst at the nursery I spent a lovely hour with the Mollster, who was flagging in the heat and looking half-asleep! Though not our dog, Molly is our little buddy and occasional house guest and  regularly features on this blog and on my Instagram.


Cup cakes. Thanks to my massage therapist Carol I discovered a new vegan café in Lancaster, which happens to be just round the corner from my counsellor’s office… They make Bounty cup-cakes! I am doomed! (Note for new readers. I am addicted to coconut)

Bounty cupcake and prickly-pear flower tea at The Herbarium in Lancaster.



I am generally a pretty easy going guy. I grumble about the day job (who doesn’t?). I am very liberal in my outlook and a passionate defender in the right of an individual to live however they want provided nobody is hurt or disadvantaged by it. I realised around the time of the Aussie vote on same-sex marriage that it saddens and angers me that anyone considered a vote was even needed. What the hell gives anyone the right to dictate how another person lives or who they choose to spend their life with? What a person does with their own body is their own business – provided they don’t expect someone else to suffer the consequences or pick up the pieces. I have never actually had a rant on here about these subjects but now you know where I stand. (Start talking to me about religion or similar ‘moral’ codes and I will start talking about hypocrisy.)

And don’t get me started on bullying, racism, sexism, Brexit, capitalism, and all the other examples of how humanity constantly fails to live up to my hopes. For all his faults John Lennon expressed my sentiments beautifully with ‘Imagine’. Yes I am a dreamer – and proud of it.

Art work.

I am working on another Moraea piece. It is slow going at the moment as it has reached that stage where I am not sure where to go next. I’ve taken a break from it for a few days and think I am ready to press on with it now. Excuse the poor phone photo!


Friends and collaborations.

My WP friends mean the world to me and I will keep on saying so. They have supported every step of my journey in the last few months. I might be socially awkward and introverted in real life but here I can be myself. Much love to you all.

I can’t leave this topic without mentioning the lovely collaboration blogging project with three of my friends – see the latest installment in my previous post!


There have been several contributions to my friend Linda’s ‘Guest in Jest’ series.

And a few attempts on here too:

bus paper 1, bus paper 2, bus paper 3, stress-plan diet.

Geeky plant stuff.

You can often expect these on Fridays. Especially after a bad week at work. So most Fridays then…

And, as it is Friday:

These pictures are all of the Chilean bulb Leucocoryne vittata. They show a bit of variation and were all grown from one packet of habitat collected seed from the plant hunters Flores and Watson, sown in August 2001. As well as being very pretty they have a delicious scent that reminds me of old-fashioned sweet shops, but with a hint of cardamon.

At the same time I sowed seeds of Leucocoryne odorata from the same source. This is pure white and similarly scented. It was much slower to reach flowering size though – ten years.


Have a lovely weekend. It is a three day one here in the UK too 🙂



  1. Reblogged this on Growing Self and commented:
    If you are not following The Arty Plantsman, I highly recommend you check out his fabulous site! Darren, aka Super D is not only a fabulous friend, but a gifted artist and botantic wonder! Add his wit to the mix, and you will enjoy his work as much as I do! Enjoy!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I love all aspects of this multifaceted post. I almost wrote a racism rant post today. Was just really ANGRY at thoughtlessness and complacency of fellow white beings. Must be something in the air. I can’t believe your gym schedule on top of work. This is very impressive. I think I am a lazy XXXX.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much Ali. Injustice really makes me angry. I was brought up by a racist bigot and one day when I was nine she did something so awful that it changed me forever. Sometimes even those people who are supposed to set you an example are just plain wrong-headed. I have my own moral framework. When people tell me that their beliefs are due to social or parental conditioning I regard it as no excuse – they should question everything.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I always say that you and I are so much alike that it’s scary…for both of us! This post is I am a proud follower and an even prouder friend. You have been an amazingly bright light in my blogging experience, and a wonderful confidante outside of it. I keep trying to find words that convey how much our friendship means to me, but my thesaurus is totally inadequate. Just know you are loved and that I’m sending you infinite hugs!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. So glad to be one of your 500 followers….And that new painting is going to be so beautiful when it is finished! It is already awesome…one of your best! Congrats on all your new milestones…You earned your way there. 👏👏👏

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I am a proud follower and a fan! Brilliant post and congratulations! Your new art is gorgeous💞😊💗 You have accomplished so much, you are an inspiration. All of the pictures are wonderful, too! I am so blessed to have met you and call you my friend. The collaboration means so much to me. Much love 🌞😀💞

    Liked by 2 people

      1. One thing, too, that you may want to look into, instead of the pharmaceuticals that all have tons of deleterious side effects, is CBD Oil. I have rheumatoid and osteoarthritis and use it for pain and its anti-inflammatory properties, as does Marla, my wife. It is also an antidepressant and has no significant psychoactive properties or side effects. Here in Illinois, it is even sold at flea markets, and a lot of elderly people, especially, are making it popular.

        It is ludicrous that old men can decide about same-sex marriage issues. Nothing like moldy raisins dictating how the grapes should grow!
        I miss Lennon a whole lot. He left us way too soon.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you Tom. I will investigate CBD oil.
          Purely by coincidence my first ever visit to Liverpool was on a school trip the day after Lennon was shot. The mood in the city was sombre to say the least.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Deborah. Homesick for the UK? The two weeks of unbroken sunshine we have had make the place look a lot nicer thsn it is these days. You really are not missing much. Love to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Honesty, wit, creativity, nature, beautiful photography, amazing drawings and Molly!! The perfect recipe for a successful and enjoyable blog. I’m glad I found you and look forward to your varied and interesting posts Darren. It’s great to see you going from strength to strength!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Marie! Molly is becoming a bit of a superstar! Susan tells me that she gave a well dressed customer in a cream suit a very effusive muddy greeting yesterday and was a bit confused about why nobody seemed happy about it. Is it her fault that someone is daft enough to visit a rural nursery in the rain wearing a cream suit? Poor Molls..
      Much love. D

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m so sorry you suffer from depression. I do too, have done since I was a small child, though nowhere near as badly as past years. It’s something that’s incredibly difficult to explain to someone who’s never had it.. “sadness. Everyone gets sad,” they say. No, that’s not it. Not it at all.

    Congrats on the followers. On my blog, I’m more interested in the number of commenters, but I can count those for myself. 😉

    Love the photos – as ever.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are right of course. Depression is not sadness. It is a void of emptiness where even sadness is welcome as it means feeling something at least. I am sorry you suffer too. I would not wish it on anyone.
      The friends and commenters are more important to me too.
      And thank you😄

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Good morning my dear friend, I am so happy to see you are looking after yourself. I also suffered from depression and anxiety for almost my entire life and 2 years ago I suffered a stroke that made me go to a psychologist even though I tried many in the past that did not work I tried again and I found one that was an angel her technique really helped me. It is about finding the right one and getting the right help and you will see life will be amazing again. Love the work you are doing in collaboration with the beautiful Dominique @3cstyle Gorgeous images here and Mollster is a cute cute dog and that cupcake looks delicious. Enjoy your weekend xoxo Cris

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Cris. You are an inspiration to us all. I see the beatiful pics on IG and would never know you had such a traumatic background. Happy to be your friend and thank Dominique for introducing us.❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Congratulations! You must be resonating with a lot of people through your diverse subjects and incredible talent. The latest illustration makes me feel so happy to look at it, like delicate angel wings in flight. I also absolutely adore the purple Leucocoryne odorata! The photos of the outings are also lovely. Keep on with your recipe for life at this age – you are onto a winner 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Wow! what a cool post, Darren! A perfect way to introduce yourself to new followers. And many congatulations to 500 of them+ That’s awesome and very well deserved! Here’s to the next 500! 😄

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I am so happy our paths have crossed and you know how highly I think of you. I’m proud to belong to your tribe and along with 500 others see an amazing person. My ish for you is for your confidence to grow so that one day you can see all the wonderful things that I see in you. With love alwasy my dear friend. Xoxoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you my friend. I know and I think so highly of you too.
      I have made some sudden and amazing breakthroughs this week and am very happy today. You are right about confidence and I want to maintain the progress of the last couple of days😄❤. Love to you too❤

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I love everything in this post as it shows how wonderful, passionate and incredibly talented you are. It’s so pleasant to work with you and the rest of the team and to be included in your circle of friends is a true honour. You always say how much your WP friends means to you as they supported you on your journey, well let me tell you that YOU are a true inspiration to us all. Every time I read you or see your drawings and photography I feel energized, motivated and happy -it is the greatest gift someone can give. Feelings of inspiration and fuel of happiness can be addictive so I predict you will soon have 500 more followers dear friend. I wish you only the best. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

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