Monday 25 April 2011

Agonies and aunties

One of the problems with inheriting the start of someone else’s garden, especially when coupled with a distinct lack of knowledge and foresight, is trying to get colour and vibrance all season long.

My ‘make it up as you go’ and ‘whatever takes my fancy’ attitude to gardening gets me quite a long way, but has meant my back flower bed has a magic bushy, bold and beautiful moment around June, before suffering from a little floral alopecia in the later summer months.

Well I’ve tried to remedy this by interspersing those luscious ladies the lupins and dazzling damsels the delphiniums, with some wild flowers, cosmos and gladioli, which I’ve staggered the planting of to hopefully mean a longer blooming period.

Gladioli is such an old fashioned sounding flower, harking back to simpler times, like a slightly batty auntie, that didn’t bring you your favourite chewy sweets but more those of the boiled variety, which though didn’t get your heart racing turned out to be just as tasty anyway.

My auntie was always a bit like this, on the occasions that she visited when I was a kid, never showy but always worth the wait. Quirky and hilarious and like a lot of people from that era and class, very matter of fact, managing to tell you the most stressful of tales from her life and still have you in stitches. She didn't bother with suitcases instead carrying her clothes piled high in her arms, as she didn’t see the point if she was getting a lift in a car as they would just go in the boot anyway.

A woman less suited to the country I can’t imagine, scared of the dark (there were no street lights in the village) and a fear of anything that flew, crawled or fluttered, meaning sitting in the house, roasting on  summer days viewing the countryside through tightly closed windows and doors. 


  1. The garden from the photo looks absolutely striking to me. I had to chuckle about your aunt. I believe everyone has an aunt who is a bit off. I pray I am not one of those daffy aunts. Yikes!

  2. What a fabulous aunt. I think your garden looks lovely - I am quite jealous of your green thumb.

  3. I love an English cottage garden and this looks idyllic. Have you thought of Hollyhocks, Canterbury Bells and Love-in-the-Mist (amongst others)? I fall in love with the names, if not with the flowers themselves!
    On another note, Viking Old Chum, speaking as a batty aunt (which I think my nephews will atest to), nothing wrong with it!!!

  4. @marmaduke scarlet
    why thank you very much, I do have some Hollyhocks but I'm loving the other suggestions, the garden centre beckons. I'm an uncle myself but not sure what the corresponding title is for 'batty' when referring to the male relative, but all for it.

  5. What a beautiful garden! I'm envious of your green thumb. The description of your auntie made me laugh, I'm sure if I asked my nieces and nephews they'd think I was a bit nuts too! Have a great weekend!