6 May 2012

I love this time of year when that magical succession of garden things begins. And when unexpected surprises lurk beneath foliage. The irises are almost over now, but are overlapping beautifully with the Rosa mutabilis chinensis. I wish I had a wand to wave to freeze them right there. But it wouldn’t be right: it’s the mutability which gives the scene so much of its charm.

As usual, the chinensis is the first of the roses to bloom; their generosity never ceases to amaze me, given the dreadful soil they’re in.

A faint, delicious, perfume is the main sign that one or two flowers have opened on the R. Felicia: you have to peer through the leaves to locate the source of the scent. But all the roses are covered with buds ready to explode. I just can’t believe that I have allowed myself to be persuaded to go away next week: I know I’m going to miss that morning when I open the front door to a frothy, pink, sweet-smelling world.

Why is it that we never manage to travel in January, or cold miserable February when winter has dragged on so long and we’re at our wits’ end? Or in November when we’re bracing for the worst. L keeps saying ‘don’t be ridiculous, it’s only five days.’ But it isn’t, in the end, because there’s the stopover in Rome beforehand then all the rushing about the place, trying to make up for lost work time, when I get back. It was good to talk to my friend Lynne – a fellow gardener – the other day and hear myself berated: ‘oh no!’ she said. ‘I couldn’t possibly go away now!’ Precisely. But when I related this to L, all I got was a harrumph.

All right, I hope to include a visit to the Festival de Chaumont on the trip, and that will be one garden-related thing I can cross off my list of guilty secrets (when, I wonder, will I get around to crossing off my other major lacuna, Chelsea?) But a quick search for other gardens to delight in in the area turned up much that looked very theme park.

I’m hoping at least that Gilles Clément’s creation at the Chateau de Beauregard will manage to delight. And I’m hoping, too, that I won’t be too early for garden visiting in those colder, more northerly climes. That would be truly disappointing: to miss the high point here and the high point there. No, I do hope not.



About Gardens, Food & Umbria

I am a garden designer, working throughout central Italy. I have lived in Italy for over 30 years – for many years in Rome but now in the wilds of Umbria where I have fixed up one wreck of a house, am working on another, and tinker endlessly with two and a half hectares of land, some of which is my garden.
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