My garden, two years later

And so it is that after two years in a Parisian flat where it wasn’t even possible to flower the windowsills, we are back in Canterbury. Back in our little house and, more importantly, to our garden !

During our absence, a friendly gardener regularly visited our plot, cutting the hedge (that dreaded ivy, the fierce firethorn, the cotoneaster, the thick-clawed climbing rose, etc) and keeping things more or less in order. However, and understandably, he had other things to do than stay for hours talking to my plants. To this lack of stimulating conversation (and to the first tenants’ children’s undoubtedly glorious deeds) I attribute the death of many of my vegetal friends. Therefore, let me tune my fine-stringed lyre and pay tribute to you, dear and sometimes very short-lived companions :

Verbena bonariensis, the flowers of which should have presently filled the corner with bright purple light:

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Saxifrage Carpet Pink:

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Creeping phlox:

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Dark-leaved geranium, lupins and alliums:

 

 

Edelweiss:

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Delphiniums (which were never blue anyway):

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Astilbe and various others, amongst which this wonderful hellebore which was so strong I thought it would never die:

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I must confess your loss does not tear me apart and that I already have plans for the space freed (watch this space, too).

I am sad, however, to have lost two of my Japanese maples : the red Acer palmatum Shaina and Acer Shirawasanum Aureum, which was the most precious plant in my garden.

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I used to look at its leaves glowing in the evening, and feel like a poor woman in whose unworthy house inclement weather had forced a prince to take shelter. I don’t know whether I will try to acquire another one. It is not possible to replace something truly loved.

Another cruel loss is that of Eryngium Neptune’s Gold – but for this one, I will definitely try again. Clear out of my way, anybody and anything which think they can stop me from growing eryngiums !

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Other plants did not die, but barely survived. Hydrangeas, to which the Kentish draught was cruel and hostas, which nobody protected against the slugs. Hosta June, for example, went from this :

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… to this :

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Surviving Japanese maples : Acer palmatum Red Wine (which has thrived and grown enormously), Acer palmatum Osakazuki (maybe sulking a bit), Acer palmatum Katsura (as delicate as ever).

Oh, but other plants did well.

Santolina, which crushed everything around it :

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And the strawberry plants, which invaded all the beds. I don’t know how many I pulled out, but here they still are, clinging to the gravel.

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It will take me some time to infuse some colour and shape back into my garden. Wish me luck ! I am looking forward to it.

 

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Haïkus pour une impasse

I

Assis sur le banc
Tu retiens le flot
De ta gorge à mes cheveux

Par nos mains qui ne se touchent
Les dieux viennent de sceller
Notre lâcheté

Sur la route où tu vas seul
La palme du souvenir
– Pourvu que le vent…

II

Je ne peux imaginer
Ma vie ni la tienne
Le temps passe heureusement

Ne disaient-ils pas
Qui l’a vu ne l’oubliera ?
– Je t’ai vu, pourtant

Egaré jusqu’à ton nom
– A quelle étoile vouer
Ce fleuve de sang ?

III

Pénélope aux doigts tranchés
Apprends à tisser 
Sur un souvenir de trame

A la pointe de l’absence
Grave sans ciller
Le psaume de la défaite

Que signifie le soleil
Que signifie-t-il
Dans les glaces de l’exil