Saturday, 23 April 2011
Flowers set their own time and place.
How ever carefully we plan our gardens - a bed of tulips here, a drift of forget me nots there - the flowers do their own thing. This year, because of a warm Spring, they have all decided to flower early and to flower profusely, so that the blossom is incredible.
In our garden we have a large bed of red tulips, all the same colour and until recently I assumed they were the same variety. Then the farmer told me to look inside them and I found there are two varieties growing together. And behind the tulips, in the same bed, in a dismal, dark corner is a patch of Solomon's Seal - one of my all-time favourite plants. I keep trying to persuade it to move to other parts of the garden but - no - this is where it likes to be and here it is staying.
Lily of the valley is another example of plant that knows its own mind. My sister-in-law next door threw it out of her garden because she didn't like the way it was taking over. I love it and salvaged a little clump from the compost heap. Now - always moving to the West, as I am told it does, it is colonising a large area of the garden. Some visitors suggest I pull some of it up as it is becoming like a weed. No, I shall let it wander as it will and rejoice in its pretty flower and delicate scent for the few weeks of the year.
We have a pretty Rock Aquelegia in our rock garden. Last year there was only one flower - this year a dozen. I hope that is because it is telling us it likes its situation rather than because of the weather - next year will tell.
One of my favourite wild flowers is the cuckoo-flower - or milkmaid as the farmer calls it. Its pretty mauve flowers usually come up in the paddock in mid-May. This year it is out now and is dotted all over the field - but it doesn't choose to move anywhere else.
Oh yes, we might think we have tamed nature but really it is far too clever - it might let us think we have but then, when we least expect it, a flower, a plant, a bird, pops up where we least expect it. And isn't that what makes the outdoors so very exciting?