Rosemoor. 14.02.13

How wonderful to start a new year of visits in the sun at the delightful RHS garden, Rosemoor. It has been a long winter, poor Gloria has had swollen ankles and I have developed an allergy to herrings so we were both pleased to get out and forget our worries.

As we walked through the main entrance we both found ourselves laughing with joy. This is a splendid view and the beds on either side are filled with yellow and white polyanthus. It reminded me of the stories my grandmother would tell about Miss Jekyll and her rather unique garden. My grandmother took tea with her regularly for many years and it was clear that the two ladies had forged a lifelong link from their mutual dislike. Dear grandma described her raised mounds of polyanthus as the bilious hillious.

We were visiting to pay homage to the snowdrops and the spring which was trickling through the garden following the course of the winter rains. A measure of mud is a small price to pay for such a stimulating walk. This is Galanthus x valentinei trembling with the perfection of February. Snowdrops love the spring moisture of Rosemoor. They are slow to establish but once they start to move they go like a runaway polo pony.

Rosemoor is blessed with a number of old oak trees in the meadows and the most delightful spring bulbs grow around them, Crocus, Snowdrops and the lovely Narcissus cyclamineus. This wonderful little daffodil is responsible many an old lady getting damp knees.

The snowdrops are lovely and they combine beautifully with the Hellebores to make a memorable spring display. This is Helleborus purpurascens, a rather rare plant in gardens with enchanting low purple flowers, the first promise of summer shadows.

When I first saw this I thought that Gloria's ankles had given way again and she had been laid low. In some lights she can have a greyish hue like an uncooked prawn (I mean it kindly my darling, you know what I think and we have discussed face powder). Fortunately no such catastrophe had occurred. This metallic magnificence is part of the winter sculpture trail.

There are some glowing ethereal Euphorbia for the spring garden. This is a beautiful pure yellow form of E.characias wufenii that puts me in mind of Mrs Fish's shining 'Lambrook Gold', and perhaps it shares a gene or two.

Chrysosplenium macrophyllum is a curious plant. The papery white flowers in spring can be delightful or the whole thing can be as ragged as a net curtain ravaged by moths. One German grower said the leaves had the same colour as the skin of a dead pig. It can be a lovely thing but it doesn't make it easy

These are the herbaceous borders, a little stark with their clipped yew telephone boxes but filled to the brim with the bursting promise of the season to come. Sometimes if one sends a small gift to a nephew in a cardboard box it gets a little battered in the posal system and arrives with the sides a little concave. It looks rather dejected as though the promise within had been punctured. On another occasion the corners and edges will be compressed and the parcel will bulge with crumpled wonder. Such is a visit to the garden at Rosemoor, fat with experience and the pleasure of unwrapping.

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