Woodwardia radicans – The European Chain Fern

Woodwardia radicans

I spent the day safely cocooned at home, pottering, making soup, enjoying my temporary captivity. Occasionally I looked out into the gloom, watching the rain sheet sideways, listening to the ever increasing howl of the wind.  On days such as these I think of those outside, unprotected from the elements; the homeless, the rescue services, the crazy gardeners who don’t know when to give up and go home.  Then I usually sigh, mentally wish them well and count my blessings.  And it is due to get worse.  Another storm is approaching.   Storm Doris, not a terribly scary title, I feel they could have done much better.  Daphne perhaps or Desdemona or even Doreen.  Whatever her name, I hope she decides to take it easy on us.

This Woodwardia radicans won’t be complaining about the constant mist we have experienced over the last few days, it will be well and truly revealing in it.

Stay safe everyone.


Short Story


A (very) Short Story

“What did you do today?”

“I got very wet and made mud pies.”

The End

ps  I hope you appreciate my artistic photograph.  Before anyone suggests it, the special effect was achieved not through wobble, rain or ineptitude.  It is an expression of my miserable, soggy, heart.

All Things Incredible


Yesterday me and my old mate Hero went to the Seed and Potato Day organised by Incredible Edible Ilfracombe.  The promise of seed and potatoes is quite enough to get me out of my pyjamas on a Saturday morning. In fact I would have been happy with one or the other, but then I am easily pleased.

Before I left the house I sorted through my seed box for worthy candidates for the big swap. Luckily I had my best sharing head on, although I did have to prise a few choice ones out of my own fingers. Contributions safely stashed away, I repeated the mantra “I do not need any more seed or plants” a few times and set off, happy in the knowledge that this was imprinted into my subconscious.

My first glimpse as I walked into the hall was trug upon trug of seed potatoes, looking resplendent in their rainbow containers.  The descriptions were tantalising, surely I could fit a few somewhere? In the nick of time I remembered “I do not need any more seed or plants”.  So I resisted.   Yes, I am strong.


Next I wandered past an ocean of boxes overflowing with every seed you ever wanted, being sold by the heritage flower and vegetable specialist Pennard Plants.  It was enough to send someone with less self self-control off the rails. “I do not need any more seed or plants” I muttered, perhaps a little grumpily.

At the far end of the hall I thrilled to see that the lovely Kay and Al from Atlantic Botanic had a stall packed full of their amazing plants.  Cruelty itself, such temptation.  “I do not need any more seed or plants” I said. “Shut up!” I replied.  So I succumbed (quelle surprise), buying both Lobelia excelsa and Lobelia polyphylla.  For a friend you understand.  We then undertook some surreptitious pre-swaping.  I expect it is all on CCTV so I had better confess.  I liberated Echium wildprettii and Armeria pseudoarmeria whilst they gave Dierama ‘Guinevere’ and Lathyrus aureus a home.   Hero, from the other side of the room, gestured that she was going upstairs.  Upstairs?  What more?!

So I scooped up the rest of my packets and ventured to the first floor to find even more stalls including the swapping area. “I do not need any more seed or plants” I reminded myself as I quickly handed my donation over, managing to resist even a rummage to see what others had brought (quelle grande surprise).  It was safest to avoid eye contact with any of those devilish packets, I didn’t want another slip up.


Then I spotted a woman busily setting up one of the stalls and thought she looked very familiar. In my shy retiring way, I accosted her, luckily she was who I though it was.   It was the wonderful Jenny who runs the incredible Permaculture Garden at Tapley Park.  She is a generous and passionate soul.  We had a big chat and I left clutching packets of Giant Dill, purple plantain and amaranthus.  Too busy catching up to remember the mantra.  Never mind.

This event wasn’t just about plants and seed.  The Lantern hall was brimming with information about many local schemes including Ilfracombe in Bloom, the Cairn Nature Reserve, Beach Clean and of course IEE’s very own Laston Green Community Garden.  There was seed sowing and crafts for the young, music for all, and of course tea and cake.

Well done everyone who was involved, you really showcased IEI, and I’m already looking forward to next year.  And I have decided upon a new mantra, “a few more seeds and plants won’t hurt anyone”.

I was gossiping so much I forgot to take photos so thank you for the loan of these lovely ones, which were taken by Tim Lamerton.

Ladies that Lunch


Today I had lunch with Lavinia.  I haven’t seen her since December and we had a good old chin wag, so much to catch up on.  For various reasons, which do not include her discovering the family silver in my handbag, I will no longer be gardening for L & L.  This is fine, things move on, things change, that is the nature of nature.  But I will miss them.

It has been a pleasure to work for such interesting, knowledgeable and downright good people.  I may no longer be working in their garden, but they will still be my friends.  Thank you both.

And yes, Lav, I did open the card before I got home.  But you knew that anyway, didn’t you?!



What is better than the first camellia flower?

A glint of cerise catches your eye in the distance.  Abandoning your wheelbarrow you tentatively investigate, non negotiable curiosity drawing you towards a hint of something special.  In a scrappy hedge of hardy fuchsia, self seeded ash and buddleja, tucked in behind a lodge, the discovery of an up-to-now un-found camellia.  One crumpled lipstick bloom basking in the sporadic sunshine.