Summer’s ripening breath

Perfect weather for the Annual Horticultural Association Coach Outing on Thursday, and everyone’s polite muttering about lack of air-conditioning in our Luxury Executive coach is soon forgotten at first sight of Great Dixter; house, gardens and surrounding countryside all looking stunning in July sunshine, and find it impossible not to smile at complete strangers when confronted with such glorious Technicolor exuberance.   Am, childishly, excited to bump into well-known Head Gardener down one narrow path, and tell him (no doubt to his great relief) that The Gardens Are Looking Good.

Return trip takes us through one ridiculously picturesque village after another, and we make afternoon stop in particularly charming town where I buy plasters, book about Homer, and a solar-powered hula girl model. Man from Head Office has meanwhile been despatched to fix coach’s air-conditioning, and we travel home in cool Executive comfort and general agreement that it has been A Lovely Day.

Spend yesterday doing best to resist Siren Call of garden and make some headway on overdue deskwork (efforts to resist further village duties having proved almost wholly futile). Decide that my confident observations to son about “Romeo and Juliet” in preparation for his Controlled Assessment on Monday might carry more weight if I had actually read the play,  so do so, and find own intermittent concerns about teenage relationships usefully Put Into Perspective.


12 thoughts on “Summer’s ripening breath

  1. A delightful day of pleasures. Garden sounds wonderful, as does small town. Am wondering what shop would stock solar powered hula girl as would love to see such a thing. Glad that a good time was had by all. xx p.s. I have finished reading the “other” diary now and feel fully qualified to give provincial style answers now! xx

    • It was a rather upmarket party shop, full of silly pretty irresistible things! Hope you enjoyed the proper Diary – I did notice your expert use of “Query” in a previous comment…

  2. Solar powered hula girls are few and far between, best to snap them up while you can. Sounds like a good day. I know what you mean about the picturesque villages. I hope people know how lucky they are to live in such places. I expect you made the head gardener’s day, it always nice to be appreciated. CJ xx

    • We had to admit that it’s not so bad where we live either, but there was just something magical about that area. I expect that the Head Gardener has heard rather more considered and expert comments about his work but, yes, I hope that he appreciated the appreciation!

  3. I’m lucky enough to go to Great Dixter quite often and have an annual pass so that I can sneak in through the nursery if there is a large queue at the entrance hut. I see Fergus Garratt working away there almost every time but have been too tongue-tied to say anything to him. Occasionally one can eavesdrop as he takes a group round, by taking an unnatural interest in a nearby Hosta.

    • I’m very envious of your pass to Great Dixter, which I thought was just the most wonderful place. I seem to be getting less tongue-tied as I get older, which is perhaps not always a good thing…

  4. I bumped into FG on top of the Sissinghurst tower. I thought he may have been checking out the competition, but maybe he was just having a nice day out. I heard him speak once at a local charitable horticultural ‘do’, you know the sort of thing with wine and nibbles, and enjoyed what he had to say very much. Have never been back to Great Dixter after a disastrous visit with the family many years ago when temperatures were in the mid-30s and everyone was collapsing with heat exhaustion, especially the coach parties!

    • I can imagine FG being the perfect Guest Speaker – he seems very enthusiastic as well as knowledgeable. Some days out just are disastrous, but I hope that you will be able to visit Great Dixter under more auspicious circumstances another time! And I must make an effort to go to Sissinghurst again – I used to go regularly as a child but haven’t been for Ages.

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