The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens. 19.04.13

Sir Harold Hillier left his marvellous garden and arboretum to Hampshire County Council to preserve the collection. I hardly seems a moment since we were last here but Gloria is very taken with the place. She says the light is good. The lighter the better apparently. She says the same about cheese and I think she is misguided but we have spent a long time in the motor car and this is not the time to mention it.

Jermyns House stands at the end of an avenue of Magnolias. Gloria lost her heart to the exquisite planting back in Sir Harold's day. I am convinced that among the bushes she lost something else altogether but we had a little argument about it some years ago. She told me that I was a carnal conspirator and that it would take more than a bosquage of Camellias and a swarthy gardener even when she was young enough for the earth to move.

These Hellebores take us onto safer ground for a moment. I love the dark invitation of their flowers but Gloria is glowering at me wordlessly and at the moment they look a litle sinister. Planted thickly enough they make an effective ground cover, mulched every spring with compost.

Pulmonaria 'Lewis Palmer' is much more cheering in ther bright sunlight. The blue fowers are the first startling evidence of spring, appearing before the first shrubs blossom.

We both laughed simultaneously when we saw this jolly pink flower. During the journey Gloria accused me of driving while asleep. She is always in such a terrible rush and we were both rather tired and agreed not to talk about it. Camellia 'La Sonnambula' made us both giggle and we put it behind us.

When I was a young girl I had a year of terrible nightmares. I was chased around the hockey field by a giant worm. This is just the sort of thing I was worried about, though it is Gunnera mannicata, it's terrifying movement frozen in the mud.

Spring has been a little tardy this year but it has finally arrived. Magnolia salicifolia 'Kewensis' becoming overexcited in the warmth. There is a perfect moment for Magnolias, after the first bud break and before the first inclement weather. We are here in the right place at exactly the right time. It is a happy circumstance.

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