One of many moments of joy today.
After a month long sabbatical, today I returned to work. I call it a sabbatical because it sounds grown up and important and as if I am doing something worthy with my time. Researching the lesser spotted snoddlegrass perhaps or volunteering in the Home for Grumpy Old Men or maybe knitting hats for bald eagles. None of these are the case. It mainly involved good intent and excessive inertia. Oh, and chocolate.
After a dreary December I was ready for a break and the thought of sog and mud free days was enticing. For the last couple of weeks I have been restless to return. Batteries recharged. My clothes a little tighter. Ready for action.
It rained, of course, but not until just before lunch. And it was lovely to be part of the Westwell Hall pack again. My cleaned and sharpened tools are dirty, my coat mud-encrusted, twigs are in my hair, order has been restored and all is well in the world.
It was a struggle to get an even vaguely in-focus photo today. This was partly to do with the gale force winds that were assaulting plants and gardener alike, and partly to do with the fact I had so many clothes on it was hard to extricate my camera and take a shot.
In order to keep warm, this vinca was doing the dance moves to YMCA. For sake of the photo, we are lucky that Y is quite a long note.
Tropaeolum tuberosum at Westwell Hall. The first flower of the season. Better late than never.
A couple of months ago, on Button Moon, I was handed a couple of boxes. These boxes contained bulbs and corms and were accompanied by a wide smile of pride. They were several weeks out of date and had been liberated from the bargain bin. But this was no ordinary bin. It was a Waitrose bargain bin. In return I offered my narrow smile of fear.
The planting times were past and they more shrivelled than ideal, but ever the obedient servant, I planted them and hoped for the best.
Purple anemones, palest lemon gladioli and crocosmia have all chortled at my concerns. None though have been more divine than Gladiolus murielae, the Abyssinian gladiolus. A glorious white and purple butterfly. I never doubted you for a moment.
Fed up with “bee on flower” photos yet? Surely we can fit in just one more before the season is over?
Bee, borage, background of calendula. Job done.
Today there was plenty of blue sky to raise our spirits, a good working day with just a tease of a shower this morning. The return to summer was short-lived as the skies have already filled with grey cloud and gloom.
It will be much harder to un-blue this salvia.
In the last few weeks I have had cause to warm to the common montbretia.
Today at Westwell Hall, in glorious combination with the dark leaved elder, it looked spectacular.
There is a lot to be said for being a little bit common.
It has been a challenging day for a few reasons:
a) I’ve hurt my back. I am in official denial about this in the hope that if we don’t mention it again it might disappear as quickly as it appeared;
b) after exhaustive avoidance tactics I was bitten on the ankle by a horsefly and stung in various places by nettles;
c) it was so hot I threw in the towel at 2.30 and headed for a cold shower.
In order to present a balanced review of the day’s proceedings I should also mention the following:
b) Chocolate with Ferrero Rocher;
c) Eton Mess;
all homemade by the extremely talented Biddi. It helped.
The soil is parched, despite regular watering. In spite of this hostile environment many of the plants on Button Moon are continuing on a trajectory so upward I am scared where it all might end. No more so than the wildflower meadow. Last year it was a mixed meadow, this season a little less diverse. But not diminished in any way. Dominated by candytuft in sugared almond shades, nigella intersperses from white to Marianas Trench blue. It is a joy to behold, diverting. What is more, it is a moving picture, with flitting butterflies and bees and all host of pollinators that I really should learn the name of, skimming and feasting. This love in a mist, denim blue with spiny green ruff, was the winner in a very tough competition. Until next time, when its crown will most certainly fall.