August 31, 2011

Off to  do some foraging in late August – to see what’s around on the trees and bushes – along the river defence from the Rye to the sea. Looking back at the town on  the hill:

And to the west

And to the east . . . .

newly shorn youngsters alone now without their mothers . . .

These large concrete shapes possibly relics from the tram line that ran along this spit connecting the town to Camber Sands. They rest leisurely on a bed of marshy samphire, but not a great taste. Most unfortunately as samphire is one of my  favourite foods but easy to leave this well alone. This is the muddy environment that this samphire grows in . . .

The verges or edges along the path are as natural as possible – the centre of the route just trodden by walkers. Some umbellifers – possibly Pceudenanum palustre in seed (seed edible)  – and what looked like fennel but have my doubts – guess what I forgot to taste it!

Rowan berries, not poisonous if cooked and will make a little marmalade and/or jelly. Hawthorn . . . . need some advice on these but most likely they’ll make a jelly mixed with a few crab apples to help it set.

Black berries on buckthorn Rhamnus catharticus. Not to eat nowadays as mildly poisonous but, in the past, if needing a real purge then the bark and berries might have done the trick  . . . or simply killed one.

A luminous stand of Epilobium with the a glimpse of the Romney Marsh Wind Farm behind. Eat Rose Bay leaves and stems and flowers when young and soft – a useful piece of info here. And below definitely harvest the  juicy edible berries of sea buckthorn – time consuming to pick as only one at a time will come free – but scrumptious on a tart.

Here with blackberry growing through and below ready to be cooked.

So there’s my year, the twelvemonth duly told
Since last I climbed this brow and gloated round
Upon the lands heaped with their wheaten gold,
And now again they spread with wealth imbrowned –
And thriftless I meanwhile,
What honeycombs have I to take, what sheaves to pile?

I see some shrivelled fruits upon my tree,
And gladly would self-kindness feign them sweet;
The bloom smelled heavenly, can these stragglers be
The fruit of that bright birth and this wry wheat,
Can this be from those spires
Which I, or fancy, saw leap to the spring sun’s fires?

I peer, I count, but anxious is not rich,
My harvest is not come, the weeds run high;
Even poison-berries, ramping from the ditch
Have stormed the undefended ridges by;
What Michaelmas is mine!
The fields I sought to serve, for sturdier tilage pine.

But hush – Earth’s valleys sweet in leisure lie;
And I among them wandering up and down
Will taste their berries, like the bird or fly,
And of their gleanings make both feast and crown.
The Sun’s eye laughing looks.
And Earth accuses none that goes among her stooks. Edmund Blunden  Harvest

garden courts

August 29, 2011

Garden court can describe a particular exterior area well. Maybe courts are grander than courtyards and often part or parts of large country gardens or estates. Sometimes, as in these examples, these areas were domestic or private garden spaces initially but, now, open to large numbers of visitors. The exotic garden at Dixter has changed not only in the amount of traffic it copes with but the way the change in planting  – from lowish roses to large-leaved architectural exotic plantings – has changed the scale. The drama and personality of this relatively small court is heightened even more by the lack of views out – there’s so much to look at close quarters. Real ‘in yer face planting’!

The entrance court is more open with two areas of grass – not symmetrical – and edged with diverse types of planting. The focus, of course, is the rather stupendous collection of plants in containers. So a carpet of colour at low level frames the porch. It’s very decorative and very personal and very domestic. This feature just makes the space and gives it the character of a court.

Just a nodding reference  to the Actinidia kolomikta that drapes itself elegantly over the clay roof tiles nearby. Very effective visually with the lichen.

At Sissinghurst, the curving arcs of the yew hedging frame the simplest of courts – a very bold statement  – maybe not a place to sit or, maybe it is? In the White Garden, one is encouraged to sit at one end – under some shade. The planting is  simply white and green – very cool but also fairly flowery –  within the evergreen geometric structure. Designed for a family but now inhabited by hundreds.

At Glyndebourne, once a private house and now an opera venue, it’s useful to view the connecting garden spaces from the balcony. There’s a good deal of coming and going along main routes but there are small personal areas to linger in.

The rear garden court spreads out from the original main rear access. A succesful space whether used years ago or this week – the area has a charm and connects to the main lawn.

A piece of sculpture has been posiotioned bang in the centre of the busiest area – useful plinth for a glass – rather obvious but at least the piece is BIG!

Another contemporary court contains more sculpture with a Henry Moore ‘Draped Reclining Figure’ at the far end. There’s a touch of Dan Kiley here but doesn’t quite hit the spot!

The garden courts are connected by the changes in level – steps and curving ramps – that serve the visitors and staff well, offering plenty of options within the circulation.

Fabulous perfume from Clerodendron trichotomum placed so that branches overhang one of the spatial areas with shade loving  lush planting around the base

Classical yew hedging forming the structure and the invitation to explore the court that encloses the large pond.

The poem – well, yes I realise it’s about the need for affection or simply the need for sex – some people analyse it as such!Music, sex, discreet garden courts, private spaces  . . . . all these cross reference. You can simply choose which suits!

I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling fingertips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.   Elizabeth Bishop  I Am in Need of Music

Beautiful stands of birch extend the spatial dynamic around Tate Modern – the fluttering foliage of the canopies contrasting with the rather brutal power station architecture – marks and defines  the open spaces suitably well. One of the exhibitions inside is Joan Mirõ Ladder of Escape. Hung in chronological format, the sub title says it all.

Just a few images of certain paintings – and the why. ‘The Hunter Catalan Landscape’ with an obvious landscape foreground and back ground but also playful stick figures, which to me, seem to indicate a move into abstraction? Many many lines . . and empty space . .

One of the series from ‘Constellations’ (BL) – energy and movement – layers of happenings ‘1927’ (BR) a snapshot from the journey within a dream . . . . but I want to linger there . . .

‘Figures in Front of a Metamorphosis’ – back to foreground and background, huge colour and figures in space but distortion and untold story or narrative within the canvas . . .

‘A Red Sun Gnaws at the Spider’ – crazy title but not so crazy as “Jeune fille moitié brune moitié rousse glissant sur le sang des jacinthes gelées dans un camp de football en flammes”or from the Constellation series “Femme a la blonde aisselle coiffant sa chevelure a la lueur des etoiles”. Back to the point though, strength of line and defined coloured shapes – all counterpoints . . .

the triptych ‘Bleu I,II.III’ – dream, linear, energy, simplicity – mesmeric and quite completely beautiful.

Also at Tate Modern, Diane Arbus, and images that brought me down to earth again – not in a bad way – they’re so so good.

In a daze after all the visual imagery, a view across the birch and plane trees towards the City and then outside again, a direct view from the base of the ‘Wobbly’ bridge to St Paul’s  . . . and  looking east, the river at low tide . . .  looks deserted  . .

. .   but the natural linear route to the east is thronged with visitors. Passing by the skeleton of Winchester Palace – impossible not to look at the rose window . . .

. . the Golden Hind seems to drift like a ghost ship into the streetscape with something quite Catalan colourwise  in close up  . .

. . and finally at Southwark Cathedral, quiet magnificence and sense of beatitude inside and just a little outside . . .

but also a sense of reflection looking down on the Herbal Garden . . . intimate in pattern and in the way it inhabits the space.

Buildings of great power and impact  – the Cathedral and the Shard  – tower down on us, poor mortals,  – religious, spiritual, salvation, money, aggression, work and relaxation – and also political. Mirõ’s work seemed political but at human scale.

In the green morning
I wanted to be a heart.
A heart.

And in the ripe evening
I wanted to be a nightingale.
A nightingale.

turn orange-colored.
turn the color of love.)

In the vivid morning
I wanted to be myself.
A heart.

And at the evening’s end
I wanted to be my voice.
A nightingale.

turn orange-colored.
turn the color of love  Federico Garcĭa Lorca   Ditty of First Desire

looking at stone . . .

August 23, 2011

Looking at and sourcing stone for a project yesterday  . . . . but also dropped into a nursery to view bamboos and other shrubby material and saw these little beauties, looking inquisitive:

That’s the end of softness – hardness now follows. At the stone supplier, in Thurrock, at the arse (my view! but said with a fondness) end of the city, the chalk excavation at the side of the site always holds my eye; this land was a quarry and before that the site of Belmont Castle (1795). Thurrock means ‘the bottom of a ship’ and was, years ago, a ship building area but, now, the home of Lakeside Shopping Centre – ugh! – and industry.

It’s a hard, dusty, unforgiving place but full of interest to strange folks like landscape designers . . . mountains of loose stone to assess and thousands of jumbo bags of differing aggregates  . . . .

. . . also tactile boulder stone attractively contained in mesh columns.

Finally, the decision was made to use some of these largish pieces of rough hewn quartzite as below.

One will be drilled and dished to form the focus of the feature which should have a connection with the Neruda piece. Watch this space for finished result.

In the wave-strike over unquiet stones
the brightness bursts and bears the rose
and the ring of water contracts to a cluster
to one drop of azure brine that falls.
O magnolia radiance breaking in spume,
magnetic voyager whose death flowers
and returns, eternal, to being and nothingness:
shattered brine, dazzling leap of the ocean.
Merged, you and I, my love, seal the silence
while the sea destroys its continual forms,
collapses its turrets of wildness and whiteness,
because in the weft of those unseen garments
of headlong water, and perpetual sand,
we bear the sole, relentless tenderness.  Pablo Neruda

23 degrees

August 21, 2011

23 degrees and a lovely sunny Sunday is what we were promised by the weather forecast. So, a trip to Dungeness to swim in the shallows and drift around with the seals perhaps? None of these events occurred – more like sheltering down (in fact lying prostrate to keep out of the wind) under the shingle slopes watching lines of fishermen togged out in winter clothing. Porpoises were surfacing and diving and terns gracefully looping to only just dip their beaks in the water. Some shags too and maybe a sighting of a big dipper. The jolly little train toots and hoots as it passes through the crossing – everyone waves – adults become children again!

Yes, he did catch something. Not mackerel, plentiful in the sea here this weekend, and not bass but surmised it could have been whiting. He also had a friend . . .

A few folks wandering around the front of Prospect Cottage so the poem by Donne that fills the southern facade

Busie old foole, unruly Sunne,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us ?
Must to thy motions lovers’ seasons run ?
Sawcy pedantic wretch, goe chide
Late schoole boyes and sowre prentices,
Goe tell Court-huntsmen that the King will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices ;
Love, all alike, no season knowws nor clyme,
Nor houres, dayes, moneths, which are the rags of time . . . .
Thou, Sunne art halfe as happy as wee,
In that the world’s contracted thus ;
Thine age askes ease, and since thy duties bee
To warme the world, that’s done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere ;
This bed thy centre is, these walls thy spheare. John Donne  The Sonne Rising

And now at 6.30 pm the sun does what we were promised for the morning and SHINES.



colour and texture

August 20, 2011

At Great Dixter, sun and shadows highlight the colour and texture in the planting beautifully but those who plan borders and are involved in planting design know that form and habit are also important components. The Gleditsia elegantissima  – strong in form and habit, casts the shadow and frames one view across the Long Border. The silvery foliage erupts from Salixi alba var. sericea, pollarded to retain the scale. The tree would become too large for this situation if not pollarded.  Silvery cardoons make equally dynamic statements at the back of the border with graceful artemesia to the fore . . .

. . here lines of Calamagrostis show how form and habit makes strong contrast to the floppy lines of low dark aster and the topiared yew shapes. The single fastigiate tree, on the left, is a poplar and provides a satisfying link and repetition in form to the ornamental grass. All so simple but so satisfying . . .

. . lines again of course in the kitchen garden; lines here for order and good husbandry but, aesthetically attractive too.

Teazel, Dipsacus fullonum, is the key plant at Dixter this month and this year. Don’t recall seeing so many of these all around the garden previously. The teazels seem to follow on from mulleins but, this may well change, as gardens, especially great gardens where visitors are welcomed, are required to ring the changes with regard to key plants that spread seed.

By the large, old mulberry, teazels wave out from a group of pink Japanese anemones to greet the visitor. Very delicious combination . . . and one I shall borrow!

In The Exotic Garden, lush tall growth as expected in August with bananas towering overhead and dramatic mixtures of texture and colour at eye level. Was looking forward to seeing the swallows which nest under the eaves of the low buildings – no sign and no sound unfortunately.

However, multitudes of dahlias and cannas in mid aria instead. The dark leafed canna could be C. ‘King Humbert’ – I forgot to ask but will on the next visit.

But I do know that the pale dahlia below, with flowering fennel, is Dahlia ‘ Bishop of Dover’ because I’m growing this too, this year.

And a flowery mead – eryngium and white agapanthus give the strength of form and shape with softness in texture and coolness in colour of the complimentary plants completing the picture.

The swallow’s cry that’s so forlorn,
By thrush and blackbird overpowered,
Is like the hidden thorn
On the rose-bush, deep-bowered:

But when the song of every bird
Is hushed in Summer’s lull profound,
And all alone is heard
Its little poignant sound,

The piteous shrill of its sharp grief
Seems, in the silence of the air,
The thorn without a leaf
On the wild rose-bush, bare!   Grace Tollemache  The Swallow’s Note

temporary and transitional

August 16, 2011

‘Hive’ is a temporary installation at The Stade Hall in Hastings. Folks were drifting in through the open doors and wandering around amongst the network of garden canes and, yes, potatoes. Ingenious and a delightful experience.

And in the lobby, one of the prize winning deck chairs. Damnation, I had a great idea but didn’t get round to entering!

Wandered out into the new public space created alongside the Jerwood Gallery – a little behind due finishing date and still in building mode. The hoarding had just been painted. Ouch! Bright enough to make a point . . .

. . this however, is the designer’s visual of the space – more muted and fitting in quite well with the existing net huts.

And the rear view. Has a presence but respects the context.

Some of the façade is patched with gaffer tape – the tiles break easily if you care to lob a beach pebble at them. The gulls make their mark too . . . but seem to enjoy perching along the roofline.

There’s a large vociferous group who remain against the whole project.

The hoarding around the building has created this twitten. Hope the old bench either stays here if the view is reasonable – right now it’s difficult to envisage – or, that it gets re located . . .

and this what we are waiting to enjoy. A permanent home for the collection but with temporary exhibitions too.

A transitional installation greeted me at home . . .

. . and reminded me of ‘Hive’ but nature did the whole thing itself. Aaaahhhh!

The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can’t breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.  Margaret Atwood  The Moment

a journey

August 15, 2011

I’ve been thinking about how to describe the inner feelings felt on a simple journey. Of course, things like current mood, stresses and strains of work and maybe life together with the degree of relaxation dependent often on the other travellers – ‘I’m on the train’ – permitting.  It would be easier to make a video since ‘a journey’ is about movement whether physical or cerebral. So, at some stages of this journey I’ve tried to concentrate on the why, what and perhaps the where, of my feelings – within the remit of this blog and looked back at the odd scribble made in the notebook  as an immediate response at the time.

The cavernous Bo -Peep tunnel (first pic) at St Leonards station wants to suck you into its huge organ. Monumental in form and constructed to cope with the geology of the area and the network of underground springs that can destroy any burrowing and engineering. The tunnel is the longest on the Hastings to London line at 1200 m in length and formed an important connection also with the Brighton line and the necessity of conveying journeying holiday makers along the south coast in mid-Victorian times. Bo Peep, by the way, is an area between West St Leonards and Bulverhythe named because of the jostling between smugglers and the excise. A large barracks was set up to house soldiers working on and guarding structural defences against Napoleon. Today, the tunnel still has a presence but why all the signage – is it necessary or just the case of old signs left abandoned when replaced with the new version? This station has rather subtle corporate colours  . . . . they do  reflect a sense of history and are reassuring – they appear to me as though a lot of thought has gone into selection and the result has a feeling of quality which, I assume, is  the same attention to detail that this railway network uses in all areas.  . . . ?

The large substantial buildings around and overlooking the platforms give a sense of decayed reassurance too. The station retains the pretty canopy over platform 1.

Out of the tunnel and whizzing through the landscape of fields, mainly pasture, to the west with a roofscape of clouds that sandwich me into the ground plane . . .

. . and then patches of shaggy space alongside the track where seedling trees have been felled. I like this variation of textured space. The movement is too fast to identify much in detail now – growth is up and a spongey greenness, damp looking in the heavy conditions, is the major visual effect. I know from journeys made on this line in spring and early summer that the spirit lifts seeing carpets and sheets of fresh colour and texture breaking through the herb layer.

As I nearly always sit somewhere in the 2 front carriages, the close up view from the window at Wadhurst station is pretty much focused on the same planted bank – vigorous competition here and, I guess, little if no maintenance but a feeling of good plant natural  companionship that could well be ruined by management. Feeling dizzy now from trying to train the eyes to absorb at high speed  . . .

. . . the table, the notebook and the novel – quite the best novel by the way. Others do crosswords, especially in the morning, type into and watch things and listen to stuff on their notepads. A little boy asking his father?? fairly probing questions and saying at one point that his mother might be lonely at home without them. Would she be OK?

Rather a rush through areas of the city but a lovely lull standing on Piccadilly  talking to someone special before whizzing off to an appointment in Warren Street. That done, I can amble down TCR and CXR and stand and admire the static coloured facades framed by Denmark Street. It’s a congested junction and almost impossible to get a clear view. Of course, the coloured blocks help the eye to identify but the movement below wants to disrupt.

The trees in Phoenix Gardens beckon and the path on the street angles around the compost area – neat rolls of turf await? Turf to compost is laid face down so where are these destined for? The gardens continually change, in my experience, but have always retained a very decent sense of privacy for the visitors. The seating is well positioned and only offers maximum space for 2 so the internal  views often contain a single figure and also often a single head and shoulders as the planting is lush and rangey with plants intent on rising up to the light. Much of the material – hard material – is recycled and interestingly used such as the brick gabions and timber lath planters . . .

. .  domed brick circles for junctions within the simple path network. Colour on facades heightens the odd intrusion but also brings in something jolly.

In St Martin’s Place opposite the entrance to NPG, D + I talked about matters educational but with difficulty as ‘something’s kicking in! ‘ sirens and squealing brakes of police vans drowned out any quiet conversation. Nervousness grew which is a physical electricity. The Edith Cavell statue maintains a sense of calm with the inscription SACRIFICE  facing our direction.

Looking across William 1v Street to The Chandos, the automaton cellarman rhythmically moves up and down while the rotating globe on the Coliseum turns ‘elegantly and consistently’ or so says the web site. The general nervousness has people, me included, scurrying back to the station to catch the next train. We move like a tortoise across Hungerford Bridge past the Eye described on the web site as: ‘Like a skittsh kittem – like a loose firework – like a kid full of sweets’

And between here and London Bridge, compositions of built form snapped through the dirty windows . . .

. . . Southwark Cathedral is the last notable edifice on this route.

The landscape of Kent, above, is more arable overall  than East Sussex (image below).

And finally at Battle station, Grade 2 listed, a sense of ‘hurrah’! Enough sitting and contemplating. The journey up is never as slow as the journey down.

And to finish,  few conceptual diagrams to help me find a resolution – need to do more – and a little of amazing Jo Shapcott.Hope that’s OK with her.

I can shoot down a jet stream
so intense my body rises
a full forty feet and floats
on a bubble stem of grace
for just a few seconds
up there in the urban air    from  Jo Shapcott  Piss Flower

upwardly mobile

August 9, 2011

Thank goodness plants don’t aspire to something higher. But these seem to be stretching as far as they can even if some are little shorties!

Bog standard Persicaria affine only 450mms tall in flower. It loves the clay soil and makes a perfect companion to some self seeded Stipa tenuissima . . .

A tangle of Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ with a rather bleached out flower of Cephalaria dipsacoides rising to 2 metres and perfectly see through gorgeous. Brutish stolid pokers burning with colour . . . maybe Kniphofia ‘Lord Roberts’ . . .

plastic bottles and forests of Verbena bonariensis. Here it’s necessary to fight ones way through. The ridged stems hold the plant proud as do the ridged stems of this Eryngium planum ‘Blaukappe’ (Blue Cap) but it’s the intensity of the tone that holds the eye . . .

. . . so away from wafty and down to amazing architectural structure and habit and Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ (Black Head)

. . and of course Lathyrus wending its way up the support, but it’s the perfume that is the star.

Under thesweet-peas I stood
And drew deep breaths, they smelt so good.
Then, with strange enchanted eyes,
I sawthem change to butterflies.

Higher than theskylark sings
I saw their fluttering crimson wings
Leave their garden-trellis bare
And fly intothe upper air.

Standing in an elfin trance
Through the clouds I saw them glance….
Then I stretched my hands up high
And touchedthem inthe distant sky.

At once thecoloured wing came back
From wandering in the zodiac.
Under the sweet-peas I stood
And drew deep breaths. They smelt so good.  Alfred Noyes.  A Child’s Vision

in the manor garden

August 9, 2011

At last,  a visit to Gravetye Manor,  that I’ve been intending to visit for far too long. Even on a heavy English summer’s day, this garden didn’t disappoint. It was the home of William Robinson, Irishman, gardener and horticultural writer. The Elizabethan buildings sit on a south-facing sloping site nestling within native woodland where Robinson practised his ideas published in ‘The Wild Garden’. The garden immediately around the house is pure Arts and Crafts in style based on the vernacular of architecture and materials. Lots of Cenolphium denudatum in all the borders – rather magical when used at this scale.

The new head gardener, Tom Coward from Great Dixter, has stripped the rampant bind weed that had throttled plants in most of the beds and planted bulbs and annuals for short term effect and this looks splendid in full summer.  Long term planting will happen once all weed and roots have been destroyed and the beds are clean again after years of neglect. Now, William Robinson was hugely critical of the formality of especially French seasonal bedding so he may not have given the nod to cleomes, cosmos and the dahlias as seen below, but he would have appreciated the good husbandry that had to happen at Gravetye to resolve a problem. Robinson advocated looking at the indigenous plants thriving in their natural situations. He also advocated the use of mixed hardy plants in loose natural groupings.

The garden is created with the use of simple cross axes. The famous pond is set at the bottom of the valley with the wild flower meadow flowing down the slope. The meadow must look beautiful in early summer and contrast splendidly to the formal arrangement of the garden.

Copied from my edition of Robinson’s ‘English Flower Garden’ is the flower garden plan with a more readable detail below.

And the visual of ‘My Flower-garden in Rose and Pink time’

A panorama towards the yew trees and the summer house, restored but not rebuilt I think, but the pergola is new and looks relatively simple as the original appears in the illustration. The wisteria is the old plant – huge knarled stems at the base of the plant.

Painting by Victorain artist Beatrice Parsons ‘The Paved Garden’ showing the view to the north west and the relatively young pine trees which then came down in the great storm of 1987. View of this area to the south above.

Very taken with the effect of sedums tucked into the slate canopy – must try this at at home. Seagulls permitting!

Robinson in his wheel chair and just a couple of  his quotes below.

“for the botanist all plants are equal. Gardeners must choose between plants or suffer”

‘The gardener must follow the true artist, however modestly, in his respect for things as they are, in delight in natural form and beauty of flower and tree, if we are to be free from barren geometry, and if our gardens are ever to be true pictures….And as the artist’s work is to see for us and preserve in pictures some of the beauty of landscape, tree, or flower, so the gardener’s should be to keep for us as far as may be, in the fulness of their natural beauty, the living things themselves.’

It started to drizzle and the effect brought to mind how the garden might have looked to Gertrude Jekyll with her myopia – blurred and frustrating I imagine. Jekyll wrote this about her friend:  …when English gardening was mostly represented by the innate futilities of the “bedding” system, with its wearisome repetitions and garish colouring, Mr William Robinson chose as his work in live to make better known the treasures that were lying neglected, and at the same time to overthrow the feeble follies of the “bedding” system. It is mainly owing to his unremitting labours that a clear knowledge of the world of hardy-plant beauty is now placed within easy reach of all who care to acquire it, and that the “bedding mania” is virtually dead

My copy of The English Flower Garden has this verse from The Garden by Andrew Marvell on the frontispiece

Fair Quiet, have I found thee here,

And Innocence, thy sister dear!

Mistaken long, I sought you then

In busy companies of men;

Your sacred plants, if here below,

Only among the plants will grow.

Society is all but rude,

To this delicious solitude.


And lunch was good too!

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