Checking back over this month’s photos it would appear that we have had a lot of white flowers featured recently. My tastes have definitely changed over the last few years, it used to be all dark and doomy or in-your-face bright, bold and preferably clashing. Now I find myself picking out the pinks and apricots. This is unnerving me a little. Am I turning into Barbara Cartland? Is my fluffy side taking over from my inner Darth Vader. This latest obsession with white is a little bizarre; is my subconscious drawing me towards the pure and virginal? I think Bosswoman may be putting something in my tea.
This Cirsium rivulare “Atropurpurea”, or plume thistle, is a bit more like the old me, before I had been brainwashed into Barbieland. It was making the most of the unscheduled sunshine this afternoon and so was I.
Myself and Hero enjoyed an Away Day today. Yet again we tagged along with the local Plant Heritage group who were visiting two special gardens in the midst of Devon. So far The Group haven’t tired of us, but there are rumblings that we should join officially and between you and me I am weakening. OK, so it rained and hailed and was a bit on the nippy side, but we are made of stern stuff. This sternness was helped by the fact there was a cream tea at the finishing line; surely that would gird anybody’s loins. Throughout the day I learnt a lot, met up with some knowledgable and generous folk (including The Farmer’s Wife), enjoyed some glorious planting, purchased plants and ate cake. Does it get any better than that? Maybe, but not on a wet day in May with Plant Heritage!
Then at about 2.30 it stopped mizzling and the sun came out. So I removed the flippers and wandered down to the bottom garden. The bluebells were blooming in the long-grassed bank and suddenly I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.
If yesterday was the arch villan, today was his snivelling sidekick. Yesterday was wild and wicked; the wind and rain extreme and unrelenting, invigorating and unnerving. Today was cold, dark and dank; depressing and energy sapping.
My cursory inspection of the garden showed limited damage after the storm; a section of wall had collapsed below the greenhouse, Scary Eric was down but not out and twigs littered the paths. What I found most distressing was the carpet of horse chestnut leaves covering the composting area, the verdant young foliage violently ripped from its branches.
Back to the norm today, rain and more rain. As the water tanks filled then overflowed and I slid elegantly around the garden in my mud plastered waterproofs, shoulders and wrists beginning to feel a little damp, I wondered:
a) Does such a thing exist as truly waterproof clothing, something you can work in comfortably and dries quickly?
b) Does anyone ever look good whilst wearing them? Perhaps not but the alternative can be far worse.
A couple of years ago I got caught in a short, sharp shower “sans waterproof trousers”. As I was soaked to the skin I was forced to change into my shorts which I wore with my wellies. I was aiming for a Kate Moss at Glastonbury kinda vibe. Unfortunately I was a long way off. Since that day I keep a spare pair of trousers at work, so as not to inflict this outrage once again on humanity.
One of the advantage of a steeply terraced garden is the opportunity to view things usually reserved for giraffes and basketball players, such as this flowering cherry, Prunus “Shirofugen”. A disadvantage is that there is nowhere to hide your wicked secrets.
For a while I couldn’t work out what this wood pigeon was doing sitting in the pouring rain with his wing stuck in the air. Then it dawned on me, he was washing his armpit (or are they called wingpits)? His mate looks a trifle embarrassed, don’t you think?
Wandering past the Trochodendron aralioides last week, I suddenly slammed on the brakes. Still partially encaged within its bud, tantalisingly close to emerging, was the first flower to grace this wonderful shrub, also known as the Wheel Tree. I felt that this monumental event warranted, if not killing the fatted calf perhaps an extra Winter Mixture*. Then I got to thinking, what if it is flowering now because it is stressed, a last-ditch attempt to propagate itself before it pops its clogs. Now instead of enjoying the moment I am worrying. I just can’t win with me sometimes. I ate the Winter Mixture anyway, I needed consoling.
* Delicious assortment of boiled sweets in flavours such as clove, menthol and spearmint. Very good for you (possibly).