Two Lavenders

Most of the plants in my grandmother's Derbyshire garden seemed exhausted and almost visibly panting in the relentless sunshine and heat that has been blazing down these past weeks. But two plants were noticeably enjoying themselves in this most un-English climate: English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and its unrelated Mediterranean friend, cotton lavender (Santolina chamaecyparissus). Covered…

First tulips from my cutting garden

I admit that when I write 'cutting garden', it sounds much grander than the reality: a single raised bed of about 150 x 150cm constructed of wooden boards that the builders brought down from our rotting roof last year. I didn't know what (if anything) these ancient roof boards had been treated with, so the…

Thalia: grace, muse, goddess

Depending on which Wikipedia entry you read, Thalia was a Greek goddess of comedy and idyllic poetry, one of the nine muses, and/or one of the three Graces responsible for rich banquets and festivity. The name 'Thalia' is Greek for abundance; perhaps Narcissus 'Thalia' was thus called because of the abundance of flowering heads on…