There’s no river at Riverhill…


Riverhill, June 2015

Riverhill (I)

There is no river
at Riverhill, the name comes
from Saxon: ‘rither’.

Riverhill (II)

Listen to jackdaws
chip at the edge of the breeze
staccato laughter.

Riverhill (III)

I am no gardener
and yet I love a garden
which rises and loves.

Steve Walter

shut the gate

Please Shut the Gate

Open your mind and let the words flow, like water, like breeze, like bees from flower to flower.

Stop once in a while to taste nectar and drink in fragrant morning scent.

Break down walls of daily life to find those private thoughts of yours and mine to listen to the garden as you keep to the gravel paths. Longing to break free from rules, delight in rabbits who cannot read but leave their calling cards written in a code of Hansel and Gretel droppings across worn banks.

Ladies called Rose walk into a secret world of dens amidst Himalayan Rhododendrons back into a childhood before flowers became spelling tests.

Sit on twisted trunks gaze upwards whilst climbing trees with adult shoes to balance words.

Old tiles stacked near the Car Park are nature’s bookcase etched with lichen script.

Gardens filled with nodding Alliums, a remedy to soothe the soul with purple heads of full stops in proliferation. Listen to nature’s placebo for modern life with its soundtrack of summer mistletoe accompanied by kissing bees.

Caroline Auckland


All photos copyright of Caroline Auckland

Glasshouse Occupants
(Remembering the Victorian gardeners)

I arrive as sun stakes her claim
on the top panes − light hangs low −
a pearly thread woven through cloud.

Imagine the frame’s wooden bones creak
with old age, prop themselves up
like shoulder blades loosed from skin,

each beam rasps for the memory
of gardeners long gone.
I hear earth split, spread rumours

about pollen, spit seeds from clumps
of mud unlacing palm leaves
with a single flick of its tongue.

Abegail Morley


Who said more Rossetti than yeti?

Oliver Porritt used this as a headline in the Sevenoaks Chronicle…. do judge for yourselves…

If you were there on the day and have a poetry offering, send it along: thepoetryshed@hotmail.com


In hopes of unexpected monkeys
Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, June 2015

But we know there’s no monkey here,
no Himalayan wasps. For now, the Yeti’s burrow
is reticent with its namesake. A fleet of clouds
lays becalmed across the weald – only the black pine
intrudes onto its watercolour. This far from the trees,
here on the Viewpoint green, the birds are less
insistent. Their clear and perfectly-pitched notes,
their rondos and ariettas, have become lontano,
sordamente – but for a lone black-hooded crow
searching for company –
still, the constant traffic hum,
somewhere between a dejected roar and a vibrant purr
flattened by uncertainty to one long monotone,
pricks us out; our misalignment, our uneasy truce
with the mother who took such pains to raise us
amongst these gifts – beauty, quietude, the lay
of miracles in line and rank across a county –
its whole unravellable world of secrets – spread
in wide-angled radius from our toes to the farthest extents
of vision; to horizon, to South, to West and East.

But as the mind witters, so the white fleet
stirs in the quickening breeze, sails away
with its sorry grey-filled cargo –
and the long white gloves
declaiming in the wind, proclaiming their promise to the weald,
cease their bemoaning fitfulness, only to stretch to the sky,
to wave madly for the sheer joy of knowing beauty,
the privilege of good company, the peace
that comes with winding down.

The unexpected monkeys chatter happily.
Somewhere over there. Somewhere between
my toes and a far Eastern horizon.

Anne Stewart



A crow flies Weald-left to Weald-right,
high above cedar, pine and oak,
and all the green boroughs of the county;
the vastness of the view makes it seem
an epic journey from edge to edge of the world,
like those the flower-hunters made
who brought the seeds to Riverhill.


It’s aural smog
dirtying our senses;
it’s a harrying dog
nipping at our attention;
it’s an insistent tug
at the hem of our consciousness
until something more powerful
grabs us by our noses,
the intoxicating drug
of mock orange, rhododendron and full-scented roses.

Derek Sellen

Poem on poleAll photos copyright of Caroline Auckland