Today my back is creaking after a day spent digging over 30 linear metres of boring orange Hemerocallis, or ‘Day Lilies’ that once lined the edge of the top lawn. It was a sorry looking display for the 2 weeks of summer when it flowered, proof if any were needed, that a plant might be interesting when mixed among friends but might well be the worse possible tedium when all alone. I felt justified taking it out too, as it is a plant that Christopher LLoyd felt should be planted with extreme moderation and nothing puffs a gardener up more than the validation of Christopher LLoyd. Once dug out, we will repair the stone edge to the lawn, backfill with soil and seed with grass, so the lawn is wider. In time I may plant a border here, but at the moment I am picking my battles.
A stone’s throw from here, another little horror has emerged: muscari. So pretty when it is a nice variety, first planted. Over the years it has formed a mass of nondescript mid green, fine leaves, reproducing itself with tiny bulblets, which never perform like the parent bulb and which defy clumsy hands in gardening gloves. These too are for the bonfire.
The final back breaker today was the wild garlic bulb, Allium triquetrum which has just greened up in the white border. It is endemic around here, so certainly wasn’t a considered addition of Denis and Pam Bacon’s . With strap-like leaves and flowers reminiscent of the bluebell (but white), it isn’t wild garlic at all, even though it smells pungent for a good half hour when dug. The real wild garlic, or ransoms, Allium ursinum, I enjoyed last spring at a Sunday lunch party next door. It has broader elliptical leaves and delicate white star like flowers, is an absolute pleasure to have in the garden and edible too. At the Castle it has spread under the holly tree close to the summer house and indeed lines the path of the garden gate between us and James and Aiden.
As my tactics sound a little harsh, a little as though nothing will remain of the garden after my onslaught, I will skip over my destructive contemplation of orange Pyracantha, purple Erysimum and pink hydrangea in a nearby border and tell you how I plan later this week the more positive task of adding new bulbs to the white garden. Of course, one’s likes and dislikes in bulbs or anything are only personal taste, so here in left hand are my lovely new additions and in my right, the bulbs I don’t like. Regardless of taste, it’s a pleasure to see the variety in nature.