A couple of years ago my wife rented a holiday flat on the south coast for a significant birthday.  It was comfortable despite being over embellished and lacking a decent frying pan, but the garden was perfect.  I  would  guess the only attention it got was an occasional cutting back to prevent the local tourist accommodation inspector describing it as overgrown.  Nor was it particularly diverse, it had just been there a long time and whatever was growing there was happy.

In my own garden I’ve established a 50 square meter vegetable plot, but the rest is a small and random collection of plants with no particular theme or design and some empty beds which I don’t know what to do with.  For a long time, family holidays have been on the south coast of Cornwall and just because we like the place, bringing some plants home seemed like a way of acquiring some native species.  We already had some crocosmia and this year bought a couple of agapanthus.  I am deeply grateful to a lady who lives nearby who has labelled her plants in such a way that they can be identified from the street, without her I would not know that posessed crocosmia and agapanthus.  It seems logical to plant native species rather than those from exotic locations because they would thrive in the damp and cold and not lust for sun and warmth.  However, I recently learnt from the Guardian, that agapanthus originated in South Africa.  Without doing any research, I have never  understood why English gardens seem to be full of plants which were originally native to the climates of Africa and Asia.  Some poking around Wikipedia reveals an unsuspected diversity in my own garden:

  • Agapanthus – Southern Africa
  • Crocosmia – Southern and Eastern Africa
  • Cytisus – Europ, W Asia and N Africa
  • Echium Wildpretii – Tenerife
  • Fuchsia – Caribbean
  • Lamprocapnos (Bleeding Heart) – Siberia, N China, Korean and Japan
  • Pansy and Viola – Citizens of the world
  • Peony – Asia, S Europe, Western North America
  • Scabiosa – Europe, Africa and Asia

I have noticed that flowers in warm countries seem much brighter than those one sees whilst walking in the English countryside, maybe gardening is just a substitute for foreign travel which can be indulged in without the hassle of queuing at airports.

I have a feeling that the garden at the birthday flat might have been planted a long time ago, the house of which it was a part was Victorian and it is possible that the current garden was a descendant of the original and subsequent owners did not read gardening columns and disliked garden centers.  I would like a theme to front garden, spring is quarter of a year away and there is plenty of time to revisit Wikipedia and seek out native species.


About SolarBucket

I trained as a mechanical engineer in the 1970's and then spent most of the following 25 years doing sums and software for Oil and Gas Exploration. Current interests are the study of wind and solar resources.
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