On friday morning at 7.30am there were 7 exquisite poppies on the “Shrub Bank” (a south facing mound of rubble)…I took the children to school, came back, grabbed the camera and headed outside to take some photos….All gone…A gust of wind had come… A couple of petals left and one solitary poppy still hanging on.
You think you are prepared for poppies. They’re so common now that surely they are ubiquitous and almost hackneyed. But when you see one again you get pulled up short. A tiny, dull, easily missed bud explodes one day into this screaming red, tissue paper thin, incredible flower… It’s so mesmerizingly beautiful and fragile…Then the rain/ wind comes and it’s gone… This must be why they are such a good symbol for untimely death and the fragility of life.
Certainly, they are a reminder of the bittersweet nature of gardening.
So, enough of the bitter, here’s the sweet….
Walls surround our farm… Limestone rubble walls in the yard and canal, drystone walls by the fields, and the completely crazy paving that is the railway wall… And embedded in these walls are lots of plants… But the king of the walls is the Hart’s Tongue Fern.
Luminous green, hairy “tongues” uncurl from impossibly intricate spirals. Prehistoric, enigmatic plants that seem to survive in nothing, and reproduce without you noticing.
I’ve tried to plant my own in the walls… But it doesn’t work… They do it their way… (A lot better than my artifice)…
They are called Hart’s Tongue because apparently the frond looks like a deer’s tongue… Can’t see it myself!
I’ve planted other ferns to act as a foil… But the best background and foil are the walls…. They were made for each other.