Lurking within these time-skewed days of isolation there have been moments of wonder. The nature of these nuggets is varied, differing from household to household, human bean to human bean. It might have been proudly presenting your first ever sourdough loaf straight from the oven to rapturous applause of one. Perhaps it was completing the 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle called Shades of Black, which had been sending you boss-eyed for the last 3 weeks. Or maybe it was getting into the lotus position without putting a hip out. Mine, and I can only speak for myself, it is a little muckier. And no, we haven’t suddenly become X-rated.
There is little more distressing, for a gardener and plant obsessive, than being separated from our drug of choice. Therefore, the arrival of a box containing some prize specimens was an event to be celebrated. This particular box came from the wonderful Bluebell Cottage Nursery in Cheshire, which is run by Sue Beesley, former winner of BBC Gardener of the Year. It was beautifully packaged and, snug and safe beneath the protective paper spaghetti, were my brand new morsels of delight. These treats included plants that had been on The Lust List, including Campanula ‘Loddon Anna’; ones new to myself, such as Pulsatilla vulgaris ‘Papageno’; and some old friends like Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’. A few I will keep for myself, others I will pass onto clients. If they can get me to let go of the pot, that is, I can have a very firm grasp when I want to. I smiled from the second the box arrived at the front door, through the leisurely reveal (I always forget what I have ordered so the surprise adds to the thrill), to the savouring of each label, to the sitting back and considering my choices. It made me very happy, very happy. I am sure I heard a tut, a mutter, or even a sigh or two, coming from somewhere in the house.
It is always good to support independents, especially in these difficult times, and I am pleased to report that many nurseries are offering a mail order service. I am further pleased to say that they have been very popular. For more information check out The Independent Plant Nurseries Guide, although I must warn you, it is very hard to resist temptation on such a scale. Myself, I am too scared to look. Although a little peek wouldn’t hurt, surely …..