Monday, 9 March 2009


Primroses in the garden, photographed at twilight today with my swanky new camera which shoots well, even at ferocious film speeds.  (Today's subject ain't exactly photogenic, hence some totally  irrelevant pictures.)

First a question:
What is the difference between my 6 year old granddaughter and the Governor of the Bank of England?

Answer:  My granddaughter understood, finally, why I couldn't just draw a postage stamp, instead using of a real one, because it didn't really count as a true stamp.   

The other bod doesn't seem to understand that you can't just print lots of paper money when it isn't backed up by reality and expect it to have any true value, even if you give the activity a ridiculously euphemistic name like Quantitative Easing. 

I mean really!!  Honestly!  For cripesakes - this is just a step away from wheelbarrows full of Reichmarks.   Zimbabwe here we come - huzzah!!   A pint of bitter - that's ale, for those of you on the opposite shore -  might cost more than a Volkswagen in a couple of years time.  To hell with the bloody banks, I suggest.  Let's all have a bit of deflation.  It's Lent, after all, and we're all supposed to be tightening our belts.

Now then, enough of all that hooey.   To the serious stuff:  Concentrate!  Think!  Focus!

I'm minded to plant an - not 'a' but 'an' - hedge.  Our back garden, you see, is really our front garden, and vice versa.  It's all a bit complicated, and you really don't want the details but the main bit of our plot is reached through a rather low, head-banging tunnel squished between crook-back outbuildings and our house.  Once you've got through that obstacle, you find yourself rubbing the bump on your bonce in a private, secluded garden.

My Yew Hedge!  The string and sticks are real.  The rest has to be imagined.

But the aforementioned psg is bordered by the  village road and protected from it by a thick shelter-belt or screen of evergreens and deciduous trees.  Without that living screen, people could peep in to see what an absolute horlicks I'm making of the garden.  And one wouldn't want that.  I mean, think what would happen to the tatters of my reputation.  (He who steals my purse steals trash etc.  - by the way, refer back to the top of this post to be reminded that the contents of all our purses will be trash within a year or two.  But I digress and mustn't.)

For some time, now, we've been increasingly concerned that some of the ugly conifers in the shelter belt are ailing.  There seems to a national conifer malaise, and I'm profoundly in favour of that, since they were horribly over-planted in past decades.  But that isn't the point. 

These lugubrious evergreens, if dead and gone, would leave horrid gaps.  Hence my decision, over the week-end when yet more brown dead areas manifested themselves in yet another sad cypress, to take affirmative action.   And another thing.  My garden design is intrinsically mediocre as it is, but the whole thing is made a zillion times worse by having too much visible all at once.  

Scilla bifolia tiny, short-lived, but first spotted by me on Mount Parnassos, coming up through the melting snow.  
It's a little sweetie and seeds prolifically.    Shot at a ridiculously high film speed - 4,000 iso, hence the unreal blue.

So, I've ordered up my yews – the only possible choice, in this case – and over the next couple of weeks, just in time for the beginning of the growing season, I'll be lifting turf to pile up and make into super humus rich stuff for soil improvement else

And if we live long enough, and the Phytophthera keeps away, there will be a symmetrically sculpted, cuboidal, neat, lovely, formal hedge.  A backdrop for the herbaceous pretties to the west; a shelter from east winds and a sight screen for the more intimate parts of the garden.  That will enable us to partake of tea on the Tea Lawn, in peace and privacy.

The true wild daffodil, Narcissus pseudonarcissus, still 
my favourite, bless its little heart and blooming in my garden.

I'm listening to Beethoven's 3rd Rasumovsky Quartet, Op74, 3rd movement which keeps saying 'tickety-boo.'

I'm Still Reading Martin Chuzzlewit. 

This time last year I was in Malaysia, trekking with my wife and younger daughter in the Taman Negara.  Hot, steamy, leech-ridden and absolute heaven on legs my dears!

Bye Bye!!


  1. The primroses are extremely photogenic.

    Does your grand-daughter yet understand that there are not unlimitted amounts of money stashed in walls for anyone to take as much of as they like, whenever they want it?

    This is a delicate question but . . . how long will you need to live before seeing your yew hedge as you describe it?

    And . . . will you be doing a post on that trek in Malaysia?


  2. Ah, but Lucy - we always garden as though we were going to live forever. When I arrived at the garden of a friend, once, he greeted me from his potting shed. 'I'm sowing seeds I gathered in America,' he said. 'What are you sowing,' I asked. He replied 'Douglas fir.' He was 92!

    5 years will bring the hedge almost to size. I'll either be 70 or dead! 8 years will see it thickened and maturing. Yews are far quicker than people think.

    My little one doesn't really understand about finances yet. She's in her 'pink' period - anything that isn't pink ain't worth a fly.

    Malaysia posting - possibly, if people would like that!

  3. I love the simplistic view of children its so refreshing.
    I'm all for removing conifers - cant stand the things particularly as they bring me out in a rash - I see it as my mission to remove conifers and wood chip wallpaper both of which I encounter on a regular basis.
    Finally whilst an hedge might be grammatically correct it sounds weird!!!

  4. I have decided to weather the current financial crisis by insisting on payment in plants. It seems they may hold their value longer...

    By the way, may I ask which fancy camera you use - it takes a lovely shot (presumably with more than a little help from yourself)?

  5. Hedges in order to be able to make a mess of one's garden in peace and privacy, eh? I heartily approve.

    And when the economy completely tanks, (as opposed to just listing, its current state) you'll be able to retire to your back (or is it front?) garden to weep and tear your hair, still in peace and privacy. What a comfort! Here's hoping you get that hedge planted before inflation sweeps it out of sight--

  6. Dawn, the fancy camera is a Nikon D700, chosen because it works well with most of my old Nikon lenses - other digital SLRs have mixed results with lenses designed for 35mm film. I had more or less decided to bite the bullet and buy a madly expensive D3, but this one came out with essentially the same functions at less than half the price. (Still be bit dearer than a Boots disposable, though!)

  7. Thank you so much for the info. I have a far more plebeian Nikon D50 but it's never quite recovered from an impromtu nosedive in a French zoo last year (karma was probably trying to tell me something) so I need to find some sort of replacements.

    I'll start saving...