The Florentine Iris never fails to entrance me. It is demure and yet confident. Herbs were one of my first gardening passions. The herb bed is undergoing a major overhaul, so is largely a rubble heap, with new paths being built and a redesign which will separate the plants by medicinal, culinary and cosmetic use. Of course there will be plants that fulfill all those potentials, and to an extent, the light and site will play a role, but after 20 years this area needs a face lift. You can see at the base of the Iris that orange hawkweed (not yet flowering, and an absolute thug) has got its rough grip and lifting the Iris when they have finished flowering will give me the opportunity to clean them thoroughly ( and propagate). I have never tried before – but I will dry some root to use as Orris root in Pot Pourri.
There are casualties of the snow – the Bay tree is very, very sad. Odd, because the Sage and Rosemary – equally tender – seem undaunted. Some plants have gone bonkers, as if the winter ‘put the wind up them’ and they thought they ought to live for today! Dandelions and buttercups need little excuse to party, but this abundant thrift is usually quite self-contained!
This apple tree once had a similar burst of life-loving. The WFV saved it about eighteen years ago, when a friend was having to move house, clear her land, and move a caravan close beside which were several trees that would have been bulldozed. One of them was this little apple – variety unknown. She came to us along with several baby Birch and a nice variegated Elder. The Birch and Elder knuckled down to life at 1000 ft without fuss but the Apple sulked and did nothing for years. In 2004, I told WFV that if it didn’t ‘do’ something, it had to go. That very year it had a few blossoms right at the very top, as if to say “I will, but I’m doing it for me not you”. Ever since then she has bloomed and fruited – hard sour little apples in keeping with her temperament, bigger than crab, but not scrumptious. Is there a link between scrumping, scrumpy, and scrumptious?
This was going to be a picture of another plant licking the lid of post snow life, but the intense blue of a metre wide patch of enthusiastic, if teeny, periwinkles didn’t show up in the evening light, so here’s the beautiful girl in front of the invisibles, still raring to go despite being on Plynlimon this morning, by 7.00am, with the ever-intrepid WFV. Home in time for lunch, they didn’t see a soul all morning!
More exotic than periwinkles, a Chaenomeles I bought last year. I have had poor luck with flowering quince in the past – they haven’t flowered! So I was a bit nervous, until last week when C. O Yashima at last came into flower. I love this plant. If you look it up, don’t be misled – ‘pure white’ does not well-describe the subtle soft greeny white of this gorgeous plant.
Now if anyone has any advice about how you actually ‘sit’ in a garden, I would much appreciate it. The stroll with the camera was the closest I have been to relaxing there, as I can’t resist the compulsion to weed and move, prune and propagate……. and, at the moment, shift barrow loads of stone from old paths to new.