Friday, 29 June 2012

Glove affair

I freely admit it. I am not man enough to garden without gloves. It’s therefore a bit of a mystery to me why my hands manage to get quite so grubby and gnarly – obviously I can wave the wizened things about as a sort of gardener’s badge of honour, but it’s a different matter when the mere sight of them causes passing children to run off in tears and the bloke at the supermarket checkout to recoil in horror on handing over your receipt.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Hole Park

To the rather posh Hole Park near Rolvenden for the Wealden Times Midsummer Fair at which, disappointingly, nobody got murdered and Inspector Barnaby failed to appear. But then someone pointed out that the spelling was entirely different and so this rather awful joke doesn’t work anyway. Most disappointing. The fair was a pleasant way to spend a few hours though (Bill enjoyed being made a fuss off). We look forward to going back in order to explore the gardens, the only part of which we were able to see on this occasion was the impressive formal lawn and pond, with accompanying yew topiary, including some fairly (and surely inadvertently) rude shaped specimens at the end of the terrace, unfortunately just out of frame in the above photograph. Rude Topiary, surely there’s a market for a coffee table type book on the subject?

Bill eyes the rude topiary, unimpressed.

Plant rescue

I’ve collected a few waifs and strays over the past week, with the intention of bringing them home and nursing them back to rude health. Whether or not their actual fate will see them consigned to an obscure corner of the garden and left to fend for themselves only time will tell, but the intentions are honorable, and the chances of seeing the thing through appear better than average as they’re all plants I’ve been keen to introduce here anyway.

Plant number one was not so much a waif as a child of cruel neglect, rescued from an otherwise very good nursery in Maidstone where I found it nestling between specimens in finer fettle. It’s a hardy geranium, a cultivar of the dusky cranesbill Geranium phaeum, the Mourning Widow. A native of European woodlands it’s quite happy in dry shade, which makes it useful as well as attractive. Geranium phaeum ‘Samobor’ sports mid green leaves with a dark port wine stain. It’s notable for tall, delicate flowers on which, unlike most hardy geraniums, the petals are reflexed – held backwards – exposing the rude bits of the flower to all and sundry. Inappropriate behaviour for a mourning widow you might say, but each must be allowed to deal with grief according to their own fashion.