A Lambeth Garland

Songs, to music by Penelope Thwaites, for the renovation of the Lambeth Palace Garden in 1987

1. The Lambeth Waltz
A garden gracious, serene and spacious at Lambeth –
This is the dream, the vision that shall be its crown,
A waltz of flowers, a dance of hours
To grace this ancient heart of London Town

A garden gracious, serene and spacious, a peaceful
Heaven on earth, a haven from the busy throng,
A place for dreaming, a vision gleaming,
Sweet Thames run softly till we end our song.

Lambeth Palace invites you to a prospect old and new,
Greener vistas are beck’ning and the promise can come true –

A garden gracious, serene and spacious at Lambeth –
This is the dream, the vision that shall be its crown,
A waltz of flowers, a dance of hours
To grace this ancient heart of London Town.

2. The Gardener’s Song
A task unending is garden-tending,
A gardener needs a watchful eye and busy hands,
He is creator and conservator,
He deals with problems every gardener understands,
With constant weeding and timely feeding,
He is a nurse, protector, mastermind in one,
With clipping hedges and trimming edges
It’s no surprise a gardener’s work is never done –
(whistles)

To work with nature (that fickle creature)
He needs a resolution nothing undermines,
For while he’s sleeping the snails are creeping
And slugs are working out their devious designs.
From grubs and aphis no blossom safe is,
Unless the watchful gardener hurries with his spray,
When seeds are springing the birds come winging
And frost and tempest wait to sweep the blooms away –
(whistles)

In dedication he leads the nation,
You will not find him in the corridors of power,
But our suggestion is hard to question,
That gardeners are of humankind the very flower.

3. Song of a Scotsman
Can there be a corner that of Scottish earth tells –
Rushing burn and rocky glen and bonny blue bells?
Here’s a garden where the larch and rowan find room,
Telling of the Highlands when the heather’s in bloom.

Scots were hae! Though far away the road to the Isles,
Trossachs and Loch Lomond and the air that beguiles,
Here’s a place in London that will lighten your gloom
Telling of the Highlands when the heather’s in bloom.

But och, away, it’s no so bad,
There’s ither pleasures to be had,
A Scot can still have cheerful days,
Tho’ far from Scotland’s banks and braes.

Forget the Forth, forget the Clyde,
I’ll tak a walk by Thames’s side
I’ll rest my eyes, my mind relax
On flowers that please the Sassenachs,

Foxglove, lupin, marigold,
Canny violets, dahlia’s bold,
Pansies, stocks, delphinium,
Hollyhock, poppy and geranium.

Scots were hae! Though far away the road to the Isles,
Trossachs and Loch Lomond and the air that beguiles,
Here’s a place in London that will lighten your gloom,
Telling of the Highlands when the heather’s in bloom.

4. An English Rose
In a garden’s range there’s a wealth of change
And flowers of every hue
From the purple stocks to the brilliant phlox,
Hydrangeas pink and blue.
There are daisies white and petunias bright
That the seasons will disclose
But those blossoms rare just can’t compare
With a genuine English rose.

Look at nature’s arts in distant parts
Each strange and rare device
From the jungle gloom to an alpine bloom,
Hibiscus, edelweiss,
You can sail away into far Cathay
Or the land where the Bong-tree grows,
But the blooms you’ll find won’t please your mind
Like a genuine English rose.

5. The Wildlife Garden
Here, where once the Briton, Roman, Saxon wandered free,
Let this garden be a promise all who come can see,
By Old Thames with clearer stream and fishes known before
Living things of earth and air shall find a home, and harmony restore.

In this heart of teeming London, wilderness shall flower,
Leafy walks in rain and sun and peaceful evening hour,
Morning light and starry night the scented air shall bring,
Creatures of the wild return, and joyful birds in concert nest and sing.

6. Reprise: The Lambeth Waltz
A garden growing, a river flowing, a peaceful
Heaven on earth, a haven from the busy throng,
A place for dreaming, a vision gleaming,
Sweet Thames run softly till we end our song.

Roar and bustle and clamour, as the traffic thunders by,
Walks and flowers and woodland to refresh the mind and eye.

A garden gracious, serene and spacious at Lambeth –
This is the dream, the vision that shall be its crown,
A waltz of flowers, a dance of hours
To grace this ancient heart of London Town.

Tributes

Poems of Nature