Friday, 12 May 2017

Madness by way of Mendelson

Alas dear reader, 
'In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed.'
After months of eking it out, a portion at a time, I have finished Charlotte Mendelson's 'Rhapsody in Green'.
Cue big sigh.
I loved it. It spoke to my inner mad woman who cherishes strange small seedlings that then grow into glorious Field Maples; who wanders down hedgerows counting and sampling the edible plants she comes across (much to the embarrassment of my husband); who greets the spread of wild garlic into the lawn as a thing to be celebrated and not a reason to get the lawn mower out.
She writes well; crisply yet with deeply evocative prose, you can smell those apples and feel the sharp tang of a mulberry on your tongue.

It also spoke to my inner fantasist which insists that the long thin garden we have and which already houses said Field Maple, an apple, a cherry, a conifer, magnolia and three holly trees; veggie beds, greenhouse, summer house, man shed and borders should also be able to fit in an orchard, bee hive, chicken coop and wildflower meadow.
And if I had my way the lawn would already be seeded with yellow rattle and I would have purchased a scythe!
So imagine my joy when I came across this bizarre little seedling that had appeared in the herb bed.  Intrigued by its strangely fuzzy stems and incipient buds I carefully extracted it and potted it up, only to be overjoyed when the leaves started to unfurl; for yes...... is a baby fig tree!
Many years ago when I worked in archaeology in Essex we were lucky enough to have a site that was being excavated in an old walled garden that contained a fig tree, it became a bit of a habit that whoever was visiting the site would bring back ripe figs to the office and so I encountered my first fresh figs; to this day I have dreamed of having a fig tree in my garden - and then I moved to a county not known for its Mediterranean climes.
The first taste of figs.
However one in depth conversation with a neighbour of our sick friend later, accompanied by a visit to his fig tree and I have been convinced that figs can indeed grow on a sunny southern wall in Lancashire.
Of course every house is different and while this aforesaid gentleman's south facing wall is in his back garden alongside the garage, our southern wall is at the front of the house; an unprepossessing paved area bounded by lacklustre conifers inherited from the previous owners and depressed pots that I shoved out last summer in a quick attempt to brighten it up. Jean-Luc is deeply unconcerned about improvements as he parks his much beloved car on this area but I have a 'cunning plan'.
The village is launching an open garden scheme and with it a Doorstep Challenge. I'm sure it's only a matter of time until I can persuade Jean-Luc that in return for not entering our garden into the open garden scheme, we should seriously improve this area and what could be a better start than a lovely fig tree trained over the front of the house!
Cue manic laughter and much rubbing together of hands.
I shall not mention the mulberry tree that used to grow in the derelict garden of the archaeological hostel just yet.... softly, softly the path to gardening madness.

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