|A rose the colour of cassis|
By last weekend my post holiday blues had deepened into a melancholy which had me waking up crying for no obvious reason. These things happen and these things pass but it was perhaps a mistake to pay a long overdue visit to my brother with all the emotional baggage that anything to do with my family entails. Nevertheless my brother lives not far from Cottesbrooke and what could be more guaranteed to lift me out of the slough than a visit to a plant fair? (other than, perhaps, a shed load of chocolate!!). Sadly this guarantee had run out and although I didn't feel overly bothered by the 45 minute queue to get in (it was through pretty country lanes and I listened to the music from 'Diva' to indulge my tristesse) even the sight of a multitude of stalls burgeoning with beautiful plants failed to lift my mood. I mooched around for a while but when I found that I should have got a ticket for James Alexander Sinclair's talk, which was by this time standing room only at the back (normally I would stand on hot coals for one of James' talks) I decided to give up on the day.
A new dawn, a new - albeit rainy - day and I have regained my belief that a bit of Garden therapy will enhance my mood so I am off with my brother and his wife to Coton Manor. We spend a reasonably jolly time on the drive there discussing how we are going to cope with Old Ma Sock and in particular her presence at the wedding of my niece next year. The problems with this fall into several categories
1) How will we persuade Old Ma Sock to buy a decent outfit and not wear the strange multicoloured trousers she favours that she bought many years ago in Thailand. (For years Old Ma Sock has steadfastly refused to be taken out shopping to buy anything new!).
2) No-one has mentioned to her that my other niece is gay and will be attending with her girlfriend. Whilst none of us believe that Old Ma Sock is likely to be outraged or offended by this, she can't be trusted not to come out with something totally insensitive, particularly if she is 'caught on the hop' and has to think of something to say. My view is that it is pointless telling her anything as she will forget in two minutes and the whole conversation will have to be repeated infinite times.
3) I have the distinct feeling that ensuring that Old Ma Sock behaves at the wedding will be left up to me and the Bedsock. I hate weddings anyway and am wondering if I can accidentally book a long holiday abroad to cover all possible wedding dates.
At least this new potential problem has taken my mind off my present despondency and we arrive at Coton Manor in a better frame of mind for the plants to begin working their particular kind of magic on my mood. I am not disappointed.
A chic and cheering display of pelargoniums and Salvia 'Hot lips' greets us
I don't know what this plant is but it certainly zings...
I love this combination of allium seed heads and nicotiana langsdorffii which I think is the one I was rather taken with when Monty Don showed it in his garden on GW.
The scent of roses permeated the damp warmth of the garden and although roses are not generally amongst my favourite flowers they certainly worked well here
Then disaster! A faux pas of the most ghastly proportions! Up until this point I had been impressing my sister-in-law with my knowledge of plant names (OK I made some up but she doesn't know that). I knew that James A Sinclair had designed some of the borders at Cottesbrooke and the previous day I had not really given them my full attention being too absorbed with myself. However, for some reason it had stuck in my mind that James was also linked with Coton Manor. Seeing one of the gardeners working on the long border I asked "Has James A Sinclair designed any of the borders here?" She turned and fixed me with a steely, patrician glare.. "Most certainly not" intoned the lady of the manor indignantly, her vowel sounds indicative of years of high breeding "we do ALL of our OWN gardening and design here!" Eek! "And very beautiful it is too and these dull skies are perfect for photographing them" I gibbered whilst a voice in my head said "Shut up! Shut up and walk away NOW!". I ignored the voice and told her I was confusing it with Cottesbrooke. "Ah yes James designed the borders there but I don't think he uses roses which we have in abundance here" she replied softening towards my predicament. I mumbled in agreement as I edged away to stop my brother eating cherries from the tree next to us.
The rest of our tour continued without mishap. All over the garden chickens, ducks, and
|A border to crow over|
er.. a few pink flamingos wandered freely, posing artfully around the hosta beds.
My brother told me that they feed the flamingos strawberries in order for them to keep their pink colour... but this might quite possibly be a fib.
At the bottom of the garden a wildflower meadow looked lovely but for some reason seemed somewhat short on bees and butterflies
Another attractive border, limited colour and full of texture - does anyone know what the dark leaved plant is and also the green plant top right with the weeping leaves?
To make up for the shortfall on plant purchasing of the previous day I allowed myself some impulse buys from their nursery. I was struck by how the main draw of this plant would be the fabulous little lichens or mosses invading the pot..
A nice lunch in Coton's cafe and a piece of carrot cake and I was feeling nearly me.
Not quite out of the woods on the woe front but certainly seeing the light through the trees.