Now YOU Have A Go!


Yesterday, as I walked out into the garden on a glowingly golden afternoon, I thought of the Parable of the Sower.

No, I’m not going to get all religious on you. My family always laughs when I quote the bible, because I am, as Lady Bracknell would say, ‘ quite irreligious’!

But when, as a child, I sat rather unwillingly in church listening to the vicar, I used to look at a large painting pointedly placed just beside the pulpit.

It was a copy of a painting by someone like Holman Hunt or his ilk. You know the kind of thing? An extremely realistic, but idealised and  sentimental painting. A Victorian ideal of an anglicised middle eastern farm worker, flinging seed around. Some fell on stoney ground, some amongst brambles and so on. You get the message.

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I am forever teasing Lesley about her Bay Tree.

It is always immaculate!

Never a hair out of place.

Like a busby on parade.

And then, low and behold, when I visited early last week it actually looked quite unkempt. The top in particular was quite ragged:

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I always had thought that I’d picked my garden design partner very well!

But, I mean to say, is there anything that Lesley cannot do?

She’s a wonderful wife to husband Simon, she has great kids, she designs gardens, she’s a school governor, she plays tennis, she fund raises for her village community.

And blow me down, she can run half marathons too!

On the Bristol Half Marathon yesterday she was running in support of St. Peter’s Hospice, Bristol.

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Why is everyone scared of the old Head Gardener?

I went to my friends Mike and Alice on Bank Holiday Monday:

It’s ok to say all this.

It’d never occur to them that they might be in our blog!

Only one of them can master a mobile phone and that’s Alice and if you so much as mention sending them an email they both hang their heads in shame. Great to find people even less technological than me! 

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How many trees do you know that are wreathed in blossom in the UK in August?

We are guessing not that many!

Out of the office window, we were noticing the other day that the Acer campestre fruits were colouring up nicely.

The occasional chalices of lemony fragrant flower on the Magnolia grandiflora are stunning, but occasional they are.

 No the real  love interest in the trees in the garden this week has been this Eucryphia:

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Here am I, still beating the drum for Laurels.

But this time a different species from the Cherry Laurel or Prunus laurocerasus.

The drum I am banging this time is for the Portuguese Laurel or Prunus lusitanica.

Yes, I like Cherry Laurel, but I like Portuguese Laurel even more.

Its foliage is darker, neater and more lustrous and the leaves have an attractive red petiole.

Small details can make plants.

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Oh dear!

I wish I could say that this had been hideously complicated.

It isn’t and wasn’t.

A few slug pellets in the Spring (for which I said several dozen Hail Marys as a penance),

a deep protective mulch in the Autumn

and a warm wall.

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