When I’m there I always think: ‘I don’t get here enough.’
And then I open my eyes.
It’s amazing what can happen when your back is turned. Just a few weeks away from
and the hedges have grown (groan) and flowers and plants seem to have sprung
out of nowhere. The self-seeded aquilegias in the gravel at the front of the
cottage are particularly glorious.
I had a passion for these a few years ago and, when I had more time there, tried all sorts of varieties. Of course, aquilegias are a gregarious plant and cross pollinate to create new varieties and colours all the time. The trick with the plant is to keep them pure so they don’t fall back into their natural state – which is beautiful in its own right but not spectacular. I’m not a grower any more, so I don’t mind and, in the words of the song: ‘whatever will be, will be.’
I had expected these aquilegias to be a bit dull when I noticed the plants before they flowered, purple bonnets or pink multi-heads at best, so imagine how pleased I was when I saw these beauties. It’s been years since I planted any aquilegia McKenna, but somehow the seed has survived and here they are in the subtlest of shades, the best show I’ve ever grown - even though I had little hand in growing them.
I sat on the front bench as they waved in the breeze of a sunshine filled evening, drinking a very nice Malbec and watching the light of the setting sun light up and illuminate the riot of colour.