Wisley. 30.10.14

At long last we are back on the road, Gloria is fighting fit and bristling to take something on, and the motor car has fully recovered from a long convalescence (at the insistence of the RAC with the enthusiastic backing of the local constabulary). We love them all, naturally, but most of all we love the new flanges or whatever it was the motor car was fitted with that has given her a new lease of life and made her quite frolicsome. Gloria says she has had her inner lesbian replaced and I laughed and frowned at her all at once. I disapprove, but it won't stop me repeating it.

We found some changes at Wisley. This gravel knot has replaced the seasonal bedding in the walled garden. Unfortunately they seem to have run out of white gravel half way through but I am sure that the deficiency will be corrected.
This is an interesting stylistic nod in the direction of the grand parterres of old and it will be interesting to see how well it weathers the storms of change.
Gloria suggests that the Royal Horticultural Society is feeling the pinch and this development is the gardening equivalent of throwing in the towel. She is ready for a fight, even if she has to provoke it herself.

It would be a terrible tragedy to come to Wisley in the autumn and not record the Nerine. Over the years there have been a number of clever designs created to show the flowers off, but for myself I prefer to see them stood out in lines on a bench. There is a simplicity to it that I like. For what it is worth, Gloria agrees with me, or I have agreed with her in the interest of a quiet life. It is one thing or the other.

We are enjoying this unseasonal spell of warm sunny weather, though we are both old enough to enjoy the delights of the greenhouse (and particularly the seats in the greenhouse, I am sorry to say). Once we would have skipped lightly up and down the alpine garden, now we sit and watch the sun tracking over the glass and imagine that we have the appetite for tea and cakes.
This Boophane was quite astonishing when the RHS purchased the bulb a few years ago. It came straight up to flower and was remarkable. A few bulbs had come onto the market and I assume the RHS purchased one. I doubt many other people had the substantial resources required.
Boophane grow in the more extreme climatic zones of the Cape and secretly neither of us believed it would survive, but we were wrong. It is only fair to record that we were resoundingly wrong and we are delighted at that. With a full fan of new leaves this bulb has become even more astonishing.

Does it really need saying. Gloria tells me that it does, so I will. I have become bored of waiting for these terribly fashionable pairie and perennial meadow gardens to perform. This frightening strip of suburban dereliction continues to be a waste of time and effort. I appreciate experimentation and innovation but the point of experimentation is to learn new things and we have learnt our lesson. Time to move on.

I was much taken with this planting of Miscanthus sinensis 'Starlight'. Gloria has raised an eyebrow as if to say "I told you so" but she is wrong. I have always said that Miscanthus were excellent plants and I continue to think it is true. It does not change my opinion of grasses in general which seem to become attractive only once they are dead. Some people will agree with me, others will not. Keep your opinions to yourselves, I have a Gloria and she is primed and ready.

While we are on the subject of dead things, I appreciate the artisty shown by Gloria when she took this picture, but the reality was hardly attractive. Phlomis ruseliana is pretty enough in flower though it flops about a bit. In death its main attribute seems to be tidiness, like rows of graves in a churchyard. Very dull. I don't like them and that's all there is to it.

We haven't found anybody to fight with. Elderly people have few enough pleasures so we consoled ourselves with tea made by a charming young man who believed that a pot was not required. We endured in silence. We had travelled via this charming Zen garden. I say charming to see if Gloria will pinch me but she doesn't. I hope it was the product of a gardeners whimsical moment and not the deliberation of the gardens management committee. With luck we will never know. Tally Ho!

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