29 January 2016

Helleborus orientalis

Longtime islander, Helleborus orientalis,
New handblown Glassybaby 'Frog Hunting,'
Ella Higginson, the first poet laureate of WA.
A trio blooming where they were planted,

Shaw Island, WA.
anno twenty-nine January 2016.

01 January 2016


The gardens in the Pacific Northwest are frozen solid. Let's enjoy an essay from Rosemary Verey (1918-2001,) one of the all-time classic garden writers. From A Countrywoman's Year. England. (1989)
      " Foxes get hungry just now and given half a chance will take precious young pullets and tough old hens. Wonderful words of country wisdom come easily from Mrs. Hart as she and I do the washing up together. Her hens, kept in a large wire-enclosed run, lay well, and neither she nor they have a sleepless night when foxes are visiting the neighboring poultry. The small door into the hen-house is never closed but the doorway has a couple of iron chains hanging down over the entrance. When the ground has been snow-covered, a fox's footmarks have reached the chains, then turned away. Could it be an instinctive fear that the chains are a trap? I like to hear from Mrs. Hart about the postman who used to bicycle four miles to our village each morning, made his delivery, then brewed tea and waited in a tiny cottage (just one up and one down) until afternoon to allow the villagers time to answer their mail. He sold them stamps and bicycled back into town punctually for the letters to be sorted and arrive at their destinations the next morning; and this for the price of 1d. But that was before my day. When I came here we had our own post office where Mrs. Messenger sold stamps and sweets in the front room and second-hand clothes in the back. She was well patronised as those were the days of clothes coupons. Later Mrs. Turner had the post office and it was the hub of village life. You could buy all sorts of things, from Reckitt's blue and hairnets to chocolate bars and tinned dog food; with time to spare you could pick up the village gossip too. Incidentally the Reckitt's blue was not, as you would expect, for the wash tubs, but was kept specially for the owner of the Shire stallion to rinse his great horse's white feathers in before going to a show. Now we just have a letter box with no means of acquiring stamps, local news or anything else."

Rosemary Verey, OBE, VMH, the latter being the highest accolade from the Royal Horticulture Society. She lectured, designed and still had time to garden at her beautiful Barnsley House in the Cotswolds.