Wednesday, 19 May 2010
I used to have a thing about shoes. These days I get the same sugar-rush when I see gorgeous plants that I simply have to have. Invariably (as with the shoes), I have no room for them, nothing to pair them with and probably can't afford them. The good news is that plants are a lot cheaper than shoes and there's no risk of turning my ankle on impractical but gorgeous heels. So I don't have to make so many excuses, or end up with a big credit card bill.
Over the past week I've lost count of the number of plants I've bought. A week off work, holidaying at home included a visit to Beth Chatto's with husband and dog. It was a freezing day, so her immaculate gardens - amazing ferns and epimediums this time of year - were the perfect reminder of spring and helped combat the bleakness of the Essex skies. Husband admired a lemon-drop yellow troillus and a pieris, and amused himself with the latin labels, christening a giant, perfectly clipped yew cone: 'cornetto invertus'.
Meanwhile, I went shopping. I stuck to my planting script in part, coming away with an intended Miscanthus gracillimus (one of my favourites), and a Ranunculus 'Brazen Hussy' which I have coveted mostly for its name (one day I will plant it to nestle at the foot of a Rosa 'Rambling Rector'). But I was seduced by the lovely heart-shaped foliage of a never-encountered-before Maianthemum and a few other items and the lady at the till smiled knowingly when I dashed back for a camassia. Back in London I popped in on a lovely riverside garden in Chiswick open to raise money for Macmillan nurses and promising plants for sale. I was late and most of the best had gone, but I couldn't leave empty-handed, so tucked four dwarf broad beans into my bicycle basket. A Capel Manor open day in Gunnersbury park a day later had an irresistble 3 for a fiver deal, so two echinaceas and an echinops slipped in. I'll find a spot for them.