The Peony Thieves

Treasure comes in many forms

I love the memories attached to plants. The wild garlic and primroses were taken from Mum’s last garden before she moved. The honeysuckle was a cutting from our elderly neighbours who are now long gone. The bird of paradise was grown from a seed my father in law gave me when C was just a baby, and the clematis against the shed was bought in flower on our wedding anniversary. The memories are all part of the beauty

A neighbour moved away and her bungalow was to be flattened for a big house to be built with what the plans referred to as a ‘grand room’ for the newcomers. People around here don’t want to live in bungalows. They want houses with grand rooms

The lady had lived there a long time and had kept a beautiful garden, so when the workmen went home one evening after showing no respect for the plants, my neighbours and I squeezed through the hoarding and onto the site for some guerrilla gardening

There was an herbaceous peony plant and a huge gnarly old tree peony. We took what we could, crept home and set about dividing up the spoils. It was fairly brutal, but we managed to split the tree peony into half a dozen potential plants and share them between us. As you can see, tree peonies, contrary to what the books say, can be successfully relocated.  Mine have been in this spot now for nearly ten years and they apparently thrive on the lack of care they receive. For a few years I was unconvinced that they were ‘performing’ and I gave them an ultimatum: either you knock my socks off or I dig you up

But I guess that did the trick, because now there are many tissue paper flowers, all as big as your head and they look wonderful under the pale spring blossoms IMG_8869.JPGAnd as a bonus, each year as the peonies come into bloom we are all reminded of that charming garden as it used to be, now just laid to lawn. And we re-live our daft little foray

Too cold for snow in Old Windsor

snow in OW

Well, knock me down with a snowy feather! I emerged from Old Windsor Rec on Wednesday, one of the mildest November days on record, only to see the car park of the Fox and Castle, covered in snow. Not to mention a whole bunch of Christmas trees. Behind the scenes was less pretty, of course, as a long pipe supplied the white stuff. But the effect was stunning – if slightly confusing

snow OW 2

There was a lady from the National Lottery, who explained to me that this gimmick publicity stunt is part of their ‘making dreams come true’ campaign. They apparently worked out that Old Windsor is one of the least likely places in the UK to get snow, and so they took it upon themselves to surprise us all. I’ve lived here for 17 years and thought we had seen as much snow as anyone I know in the UK. I certainly never thought of O W as somewhere that lacks snowfall – there have been several days off school for C to go sledging over the years, and we had to get rid of our BMW convertible after the winter of 2010 because it was rear wheel drive and couldn’t cope with the ice and snow on the bridge over the river. As I recall, the snow was so thick that year that we also hit a pothole in the road and the damage was so bad that we had to abandon the car and get a lift home. Perhaps I am slightly cynical, but the whole thing seemed a bit odd. Never mind: it’s very pretty and I am sure they can fully justify the use of these resources. I won’t get all bah humbug because the kids will no doubt LOVE it

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