Wisley. 07.11.13

My delightful great-grandson Michael has been staying with me for a month while his parents discuss the many ways in which they agree. He is as light and cheerful as can be expected from a dark, brooding teenger. I call him fluffy-bunny in front of his friends and it dives him mad. He calls me 'Your Cretaceousness' and we both try to scowl without laughing. He drinks black coffee with a tablespoon of Guinness in it because it annoys his mother and watches Zombie films until the early hours. He is quite delightful.
Naturally Gloria tucked her tail between her legs and fled. She doesn't like people until life has flattened them out a bit. I suspect she is secretly quite fond of Zombies.

A school study trip to Latvia liberated us from the excitement and we have taken a day to visit Wisley. Staying with the theme of Zombie movies, it is a garden returning from the dead. Perhaps it is financial pressure that has refocussed the attention of the garden on innovation. Whatever the reason, there is a strong feeling that the life-blood has started to flow through the garden again after a period where the smug satisfaction of horticulture felt like a near-death experience.
We arrived expecting to see the tidied aftermath of the storms and neat piles of autumn colour on the lawns but the garden is resilient. In the dank weather it has been marinaded in magnificence. Culinary sensibilities have changed. My late mother would have said it had been dipped in it.

Among the surprises were some delightful autumn Camellia. The only thing I can say from experience about Camellia hiemalis is that it is remarkably easy to kill. Gloria's picture will have to speak for itself.

Through the course of my life I have marvelled to see the new become old. The first time I saw the cut stems of Cornus used to beat the prissiness out of winter bedding I was enchanted. Sadly this is a lukewarm serving from an old menu. Pea sticks presented as art or beauty or somesuch. Get a dressing gown for the Emperor before he catches cold!
Pea sticks.

The crevice garden has completed the transition from brittle novelty to established installation. I would love to spin a yarn to a small child about a sleeping Stegasaurus. I am currently without descendants in the right age bracket but I have learnt to be patient. There are some suitable infants growing on and the best stories are forged in the heat of enthusiasm and then served cold.
Among the grey packed slabs this little group of Crocus tournefortii are a delight. Some of the plants are slapped on the structure like post-it notes of rarity on the side of a refrigerator, but this Crocus has the style it takes to decorates a Stegasaurus.

During an extremely satitisfactory lunch we shared a bottle of wine with a remarkably complicated parchment label that declared nothing of value in fine gold letters. Gloria took a black marker-pen from her handbag and wrote across it 'Plonk'. We both laughed rather loudly and Gloria said I had taken liberation to the point that validated incarceration. I pointed out that earlier in the morning she had described this as the penis garden. We had a fine time.

There is an old adage about gilding the lily. I say adage, really there is little but the phrase 'Gilding the lily' and an implicit 'don't'.
The RHS have a marvellous collection of cultivars of Nerine sarniensis and for many years they have been wheeled out onto display as they flower, a source of much simple delight. For a couple of years they were staged with arch floricultural theatricality in a black stage set with individual limelights. Quite repulsive.
Fortunately we have returned to some rows of pots on a shelf and the Nerine can sparkle in their natural beauty without anyone needing to make the 'don't' explicit.

And just for Michael (who would have hated a day in the fresh air) a picture of some zombies in Beech.
This is the latest in a series of adventurous plantings in front of the greenhouse. It is great fun, though it has been made rather soft and fluffy by the 'never mind the quality feel the width' planting around it.
Gloria didn't mention penises once. I think she had finally been exhausted by likening the herbaceous planting in the Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden to pubic hair on a Lego brick.
We had a marvellous day.

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