A Garden within a Garden

Image  Just been down to Alec’s Lincolnshire garden.  It rained.  We went on a plant buying trip.  It rained.  We wanted to do some planting.  It rained.  It was time to go.  It rained.

The nursery we visited has the sort of stock that is positively cruel.  The Lincoln garden is already packed with plants.  The Borders one, though undergoing some redesign, has perhaps six square inches of space.  Yet, wandering around, in the rain, there are so many plants we simply HAD to have that the boot was crammed, the back seat was full, and we had to drive slowly around bends lest precious things were crushed by the G forces.  Gorgeous geums, kniphofias, campanulas, roses (I had to have Gertrude Jekyll’s favourite ‘The Garland’ once again, to remind me of a lost garden of mine, now a ghost, where it draped an 18th century summerhouse…  And I had to have Ville de Bruxelles for its glorious perfume, though there is NOWHERE for it to go etc etc).

However, the rain…  Mooching around the squelching pond garden, I noticed the branches of a Rhus typhina ‘laciniata’.  Then had a closer look,  Then one closer still.  Grey, white, silver, dusky green, orange, chrome yellow…  Mosses. Lichens.  All making a dense and enchanting garden in their own right.  The incessant rain must have helped them be more visible.  The perfectly clean air let them grow.  But the tree is only around twenty years old, and the density of their growth seemed remarkable.  Alas, my camera lens didn’t really do them justice.

I’ve just been out to check the Rhus here.  Nothing.  But then, it’s just a sucker of a tree that expired two seasons ago, probably from sudden oak disease.  The present plant, I see, is bleeding from tiny cankers, so perhaps it too is on the way out.  And though the various fruit trees, the most recent planted fifteen seasons ago, do begin to sport lovely grey splodges of lichen, and even the oldest, probably here since 1800 or so, have scarcely more, none has anything like the luxuriance of tree in the Lincolnshire rain.Image

By the way, the cowslips shown in the header grow beneath these mossed branches.


About david stuart

garden writer and journalist, and occasionally a designer, with a garden in the Scottish borders, and his pal's gardens in Edinburgh, London, and Lincolnshire. They keep both of us very, very busy. Books I've written listed on my website, and dozens of articles and garden and plant pictures. Currently working on several new projects. One of these was to return to painting - see the blog - and which is proving exciting! www.david-stuart.co.uk or, more fun, have a look at www.pinterest.com/davidcstuart
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