Spring is here and gardeners rejoice. Even non gardeners who can only recognise daffodils enjoy the splashes of colour popping up. But few gardeners are up to date with the important terms connected to many blooms, so here is a handy guide.
Daffodillydallying When you linger in graveyards on a sunny spring day, tiptoeing among the swathes of daffodils to read interesting gravestones.
Primulary A garden, or more accurately the totally neglected piece of ground around your home, that you attempt to improve in a panicky couple of hours when you hear your garden fanatic parents are coming on a visit. You buy a dozen ubiquitous primula and stick them in the ground. Alas, your relatives will not be deceived into thinking you have lovingly tended your garden all year.
Cyclamental An obsessive condition where the sufferer is unable to go in the greengrocers or a DIY superstore without buying several pots of cyclamen.
Heliboring is a situation viewers of Gardeners’ World may be familiar with or perhaps you have family or friends in this situation. Among the viewers’ gardens and places of interest visited each week by Gardener’s World will be an avid horticulturist who has the national collection of Aquilegia ( see Aquilegiance below ) or Hellebore. This gardener has no interest in any other kind of flower, or any interest in anything else. They do not go on holiday or even out for the day as they must patrol their acres of 3,000 varieties of gladioli or delphinium, pollinating and preening.
Aquilegiance Loyalty to one species of plant, even though you will never attain the rarefied position of owning the national collection. Gardeners with such loyalty spend their weekends and holidays visiting famous gardens and searching for their special favourites. Their Instagram account features exclusively pictures of their favourite blooms.
Campanulaship That happy state when you feel the need for no other company than your campanula. These jolly bell shaped varieties inspired Liszt to write La Campanella, though he may have borrowed a few notes from Paganini, who probably also preferred the company of flowers and who doesn’t?
For the second summer in a row I haven’t been far afield so I have taken endless pictures of flowers and tried a few new things like the mini wildflower meadow thanks to free packets of seeds from 38degrees and buzzy bee charities…and not mowing part of the ‘lawn’.
But every time we had a rainy spell it was mushrooms that grewor were they toadstools or fungii…
The tomatoes were a great success, both of them.
Mr. Nosey Potato got left behind at my house then there was another lockdown so I planted him in a pot…
This was my best shot of the Bournemouth Air Festival – I missed the wing walkers flying over the back garden and a Red Arrow flying over the roof…
When Christmas was cancelled I left the Chreasterbirthdaymas tree in the front garden and tied a ribbon on for each day of lockdown. This month it is a Breastmas treeas October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.
This is the newest garden development Chez Tidalscribe, a wheelie bin store with deluxe plant shelf and self filling watering can. Thanks to Strobe Interiors. And it’s that time of year when gardeners can cheat and buy lots of cyclamen at the greengrocers ( and just about everywhere ) for instant colour.
Floralia, the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, was held from 27th April to 3rd May during the Roman Republic era 509 BC to 27 BC. I think we should resurrect this fun week, so my Chreastermas Tree has become a Floralia Tree. I tied a ribbon on for everyday of Lockdown and I am now taking one off everyday. Welcome to the famous Gardens of Tidalscribe.
I keep listening out for the doorbell, I keep looking out of the window, but the street is empty. The postman, greengrocer, Amazon delivery and Co Op groceries have all been, but They never come. Another day when a long pole, with a microphone on one end and a television interviewer at the other end, has not appeared at my front door.
How do they choose all these citizens who keep showing up on the news and breakfast television? I am not talking about science experts, political commentators, journalists and doctors, but ordinary people who sit in their living rooms unashamed of their ghastly wallpaper and awful fashion sense. Out of millions and millions of us how do they get chosen to be interviewed for several minutes in a segment that will be repeated endlessly on the main news and on News 24.
If they happen to have recovered from Covid they obviously have a head start over the rest of us, but it’s not just people pondering on pandemics, I have always been ignored. Every general election, the long years of Brexit, no one knocks on my door or stops me while I’m out shopping for my opinion. Though I would flee in the opposite direction if I did see cameras; too windswept, wrong clothes for television…
But if a reporter did call on me at home they might not get away; all those years of stored up opinions.
‘Yes we need more lockdown not less, gatherings of more than two people forbidden, identity cards, everyone to stay inside their own postcodes, disposable BBQs should be banned, litter bugs should be tasered on the spot, private motor vehicles confiscated, air travel banned… it was so nice during the first few weeks of lockdown…. Perhaps you and the cameraman would like to buy one of my books, I just happen to have a box full… or buy all my books…
Maybe a little bribery would secure their release…
Everyone is filmed at home now so if you haven’t had the chance to appear on television you can always pretend. Facetime with your boring family could become one of Alan Bennet’s brilliant Talking Heads – which are perfect for isolated actors and have just been remade.
Or dust off your bookshelves and pontificate late at night on tomorrow’s newspaper headlines.
In the kitchen you can have your own masterchef celebrity banquet bake off.
‘What are you making?’
‘Bangers and Mash, it could all go horribly wrong… I’m just going to test the potatoes, okay, this is the moment when it could really go wrong, I could end up with third degree burns, I need to strain the potatoes now… make sure the camera lens doesn’t steam up… yes the sausages all free range, they were running around in a Hampshire field yesterday… oh oh is that the smoke alarm, I forgot to check the sausages…
Perhaps it would be better to stay in the garden. Gardening programmes are so popular now for peaceful healthy escapism and you can even send in videos of yourself and your delightful children giving a guided tour of your fantastic / unusual / beautiful / bountiful garden. Gardener’s World receives thousands of them, so you might not get chosen unless you have turned your bathroom into a tropical paradise, installed a waterfall in your living room, or turned a six foot sunless concrete square by your back door into the Garden of Eden.
Perhaps it’s best if I don’t film my garden; putting carefully cropped selected flowers on Instagram is my limit. Though if the people with poles do turn up tomorrow I could give them my views on new major projects injecting money into the economy; have all the motorways turned into cycle routes and gardens…
Have you ever invited television cameras into your home?
Writers can still keep writing in isolation and quarantine, but what of photographers? No more traveling to local beauty spots, let alone visiting exotic locations, no more turning up at weddings and social gatherings to take formal and informal shots. One of our local award winning photographers has still been busy; Emily Endean has been using her daily exercise to walk to the homes of volunteering locals and snap them at their front door or in the garden – while staying at a safe distance on the pavement. A piece of everyman history, recording what we hope will be a unique year, not the new normal.
Gardens were already important to many of us, but have taken on a new significance in isolation for those of us lucky enough to have one. Are they a zoo compound or is your front garden your own little stage where all life takes place? We stand in it to chat safely to neighbours or passers by; on Thursday evenings we stand at 8pm to clap and bang saucepan lids for the NHS and all carers.
Hopefully a few or more flowers will brighten the daily walks of others. No one could have foreseen back in the autumn, when we were planting bulbs and wallflowers, how much time we would spend enjoying the splash of colour. With garden centres closing there has been dismay among gardeners looking forward to getting their bedding plants; we like to fill in gaps as spring flowers fade and plant up pots and patio tubs for the summer. Luckily our local greengrocer’s has been delivering plants; tidying the garden and planting is perfect for fresh air and exercise.
I had my chance to take part in Emily’s project on Sunday. If you want to stroll around peeping at homes and seeing who lives there, visit Emily’s website here.