Winter is not all bad. I have just had to lunch Sibylle Kreutzberger, who was one of the two gardeners who worked for Vita Sackville-West at Sissinghurst. Sibylle and Pam Schwerdt met training at Waterperry when they were 20, and were together ever since, though sadly Pam has now died. I have never spent such an exhilarating and fun four hours. I told her about the saga of ‘the car park area’ with Bob Brown, and she just looked out of my kitchen window and said ‘what is that conifer doing there?It just shows to me that you should never make do with what you have got -you would have thought I would have learnt that by now. The conifer has already been moved to where there was a death in our new hedge, bottom right of the garden. The colour of the leaf is quite different but I don’t think that matters. In its place we have planted 3 Euphorbia Jacquemonti, which is a good plant I discovered last year.
What we had a real laugh about were the primulas that I had bought from Barn Farm Plants. I had told Sibylle about them at lunch, and when we got down to the circle in the paddock, she asked where they were. Having spotted them she murmured gently “worse than I thought”. They did not look natural and your eye went straight to them. As she was leaving she said to me that I must remember it was my garden. Sometimes one feels very blinkered just because it is ones own garden! On Monday I felt so excited after Polly had moved the ‘conifer’ as it just looked 100% better.
With our figure of eight circle in the paddock we have added on yet another semi circle. The soil is so fantastic down there that it is a waste not to do something with it. We have ordered some interesting paeonies from Binny Plants, East Lothian, who have an amazing list. We are putting more named snowdrops in this circle, and if the peonies flower this year I will take some photographs. Sibylle gave us Galanthus ‘Godfrey Owen’, about nine snowdrops, I really hope they do well. I am sure they will down there. We have planted Paeonia ‘Early Scout’, Paeonia lactiflora ‘Do Tell’, (not a propitious name, but award winning) Paeonia officinalis ‘Avant Garde’, Paeonia lactiflora ‘Red Charm’, and Paeonia ‘Merry Mayshine’. Polly was jumping up and down with anticipation. It was quite funny.