Almost exactly a year ago I attended a course at the inspirational West Dean Gardens. The event was a weekend course, ‘Dig your blog’ with Jane Perrone and Jacqui Hurst teaching a group how to (garden) blog. And, although it took eight months and redundancy for me to actually post my first post, I would definitely say the foundation stones were laid a year ago at West Dean.
By sheer coincidence I was back at West Dean yesterday and the difference in plant progress from last year to this is astonishing. The fruit trees are in leaf, (and some in bloom),
the peonies which last year were just shoots, are now in bud,
and many tulips are out.
And yet there was a chill in the air and a rather cruel breeze whistling round my (ill judged) bare ankles, making an in depth investigation of the thirteen (thirteen!) glasshouses rather more appealing than the 2 1/2 mile Parkland Walk.
And what a show! I’ve been to West Dean at least half a dozen times over the years but I’ve never spent much time in the glasshouses, but just look:
Acres of Auriculas,
(Echeveria Runyonii ‘Topsy Turvey’, Crassula nealeana, and Echeveria shaviana)
legion lettuces (the size of dinner plates),
a fecund fig
and lastly, (in the glasshouses), Nepenthes x mixta x maxima, the Pitcher Plant. This was seriously maxima. According to Wiki answers, in addition to insects, they can also ‘eat’ mice. I reckon this one would have given a rat a run for its money.
And finally, something which (in addition to everything above) sums up West Dean to me – a wonderful structure (flint wall), covered in an imaginatively trained and beautifully grown flowering currant (Ribes speciousum). Now how many times have you seen that?