Sunday, June 06, 2010

Flowers and gardens and falling over

All work and no play isn't all that fun so the girls and I took my mum to the flower show at Ingliston today. Clematis above - so many flowers per plant. Yum.

My agapanthus plants look a bit dead after our severe winter. Only a bit dead; I have hopes of a partial recovery. These ones looked stunning.

I'm never quite sure what I think about bonsai but I think I do quite like them - not so much from the horticultural point of view - they're hardly natural - but from the artistic point of view if they're beautifully shaped. And anyway, gardens aren't really natural. I fight quite hard against nature, which in my garden's case would be hairy bitter cress, shepherd's purse, red campion and couch grasss.

A little bonsai copse.

Lilies. Not quite of the field. They smelled heavenly, though.

And chrysanths, again not quite as nature intended. Huge lollipops. Or popsicles.

Look at this paeony! It was as big as a saucer.

Various plants in a planted display - paeonies, alliums etc.

More clematis.

And more paeonies.
I've just finished reading (in very short, late-night chunks - slices more like) a wonderful book: The Morville Hours by Katherine Swift. I must read it again in a less fragmented way. I'll quote from the blurb on the back: "In 1988 Katherine Swift arrived at the Dower House at Morville to create a garden of her own. This... book is the history of the many people who have lived in the same Shropshire house, tending the same soil, passing down stories over the generations. Spanning thousands of years, The Morville Hours takes the form of the mediaeval Books of Hours. It is a meditative journey through the seasons, but also a journey of self-exploration. It is a book about finding one's place in the world and putting down roots."
She writes about her garden, about the monks who used to live at Morville, about history and poetry and her family and the weather and butterflies and mazes and all sorts of things. She can make even mowing grass sound interesting:
I like mowing. Up and down, backwards and forwards, each time a different slice of the garden, each time a slightly different view. Time to look. Time to consider. Would that penstemon look better over there? Would it be fun to cut a window in the hedge over there? And all the time, that wonderful smell rising. And when it's finally finished and the shadows are lengthening, and you stand back to admire your handiwork, the swallows come skimming the smooth green surface of the newly-cut lawn like skaters on a vast green ice-rink.
My poor brother slipped yesterday while getting off a punt on the Cam in Cambridge (he and his wife were visiting their children, both at Cambridge University) and fell and broke his jaw. The poor chap - who unlike me takes after the lean side of the family and needs to keep his strength up - is having to exist on soup and smoothies while he heals. He reads this sometimes so - hope you're feeling a bit better, big brother.


  1. Beautiful flowers - I love lilies and have some in the garden. I can't wait for them to flower!
    So sorry to hear re your brother. I hope he gets bettter soon. Nasty thing, a broken jaw.
    I hope you are managing to plow through that marking rapidly!

  2. Good grief..... I was first!

  3. In my part of the world, people battle against agapanthus as they're noxious weeds!

    Poor brother. A broken jaw sounds hideously painful and inconvenient.

  4. I meant to say that agapanthus are noxious weeds in my part of the world. Not sure if it came out right.

    Love how they're at your flower show!

  5. Must get a copy of the book for a friend who is a Shropshire lass and loves anything to do with the county - and a copy for me too, it sounds fascinating.

  6. Yes, the agapanthus and the original orangey-brown alstroemeria have invaded not only suburbia but also bushland. I have the red and green alstroemeria in my garden, and have to yank out most of them each year - but they take no notice, and keep increasing and multiplying with biblical fervour. As they are most beautiful, I don't mind too much, but alas, they are not a good cut flower.
    All your flower photos are gorgeous. Flower shows are such fun. Do you have camellia shows too? I wonder, as the azaleas seem to do so well.
    I hope your brother's jaw recovers quickly but suspect it will take the usual time.

  7. Sympathies to your brother. There are advantages to a little cushioning around the bones....if only he'd had some!

  8. Anonymous2:16 pm

    I can't imagine how terrible it would be to break a jaw. I hope your brother receives flowers as lovely as these to brighten his day and thta he recovers quickly.

  9. A bonsai copse is just such a cool idea. I want one. Can you get a bonsai forest that fits on your windowsill?

  10. I'm reading 'The Morville House' very slowly too - It seems to lend itself to throughtful reading. It's certainly not one to race through.

    She writes about the Long Mountain (I live at its southern extreme) in words I wish I could have used myself.

    The garden is about 40 minutes from here and KS will be coming to talk to our WI in September. Really looking forward to that. In the meantime I hope to go and visit the garden itself.

  11. Poor brother, sounds nasty. Lovely flowers but I find Bonsai a bit creepy!

  12. Brother here. Thank you all for your good wishes. I'm feeling a bit better today - pain is under control. There are a lot of different types of soup and I plan to try them all.

  13. I read the Morville hours last year and absolutely loved it. Not a book to rush through. I might have to read it again as I just couldn't help myself from going a bit too fast. I love that paeony!

  14. I gave a friend 'The Morville Hours' as a present last year - I must ask her if she liked it....

    Sorry to hear about your brother - must have been a painful shock.