Sunday, March 18, 2007
In the Garden
I know nothing about Botanical Art and any time I attempt to draw or paint flowers I am in awe of the skill of those who do.
I've had a small Fabriano Artist's Journal with multicoloured pages for quite a while and not been able to decide what to use it for - along with quite a few other beautiful untouched journals and sketchbooks! - so I've decided to use it to record the flowering of our garden throughout the year.
We inherited a very overgrown and neglected terraced garden when we bought our apartment. HWEM is passionate about growing vegetables and views flowers as useless interlopers in his domain. To date his attitude in the garden has pretty much been: 'If you can't eat it, kill it.'
There are some spots in the garden judged unsuitable for vegetables and that is where I have been planting and discovering some existing flowers. The terrace is totally mine, so flowers will eventually rule there. HWEM is quite happy to cart loads of potting mix and terracotta containers up three flights of stairs to reach the garden so he's not a totally lost cause.
The excitement of inheriting a garden is discovering what each plant and tree is. One shrub we were about to pull out of the terrace saved its own life by starting to produce tiny mauve flowers. I later discovered it is Bush Germander, an infusion of which is apparently good for Gout. Life in Tuscany being what it is, it may come in useful some day!
I made a tentative purchase of Crocus bulbs a couple of months ago and, being a total amateur at this, planted far too few. Now they are blooming beautiful! I can't wait to put in more next year.
We have planted a couple of fruit trees - a Pear and a Cherry. There are Figs, a Loquat, an Olive, Bays, Grapes and a couple of other mystery trees awaiting identification. The first to bloom was what we had been told was an Almond but as it doesn't resemble the next door Almond tree, I'm hoping it's a Plum.
We had a mysterious small tree beside the terrace. Neighbours and a visitor of theirs who is a horticulturist identified it as a Peach. Now it has burst into a brilliant show of tiny yellow flowers - sadly no peach, it's the shrub, Forsythia. Since it's on the terrace it's allowed to stay.
Now I'm sweating on the Wild Poppies that appear here, it seems, wherever the earth has been turned over. That is if HWEM doesn't spot them first!