Diary of the Plague Year: Day 74 28 May 2020: Airing the winter duvet – Summer is here!

Bit by bit I am planting in the flower garden. It is surrounded on three sides by fuchsia so is the only part of the garden with any real protection from the wind, and even so …

Shadows in the Dell
Out to air – my winter duvet – Summer is here!

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 69 23 May 2020: New Plants


Papaver Royal Wedding. Will die back and reappear in autumn. Perennial

Verbena Buenos Aires. Hardy Perennial

Bell Flower Campanula poscharskyana Alpine. Evergreen.

False Lily of the Valley Maianthemum bifolium. Spreading perennial.

Globe Thistle Echinops bannaticus “Blue Globe”. Perennial.

Dragon’s Head Dracocephalum grandiflorum. Perennial

Erigeron Glaucus “Sea Breeze”. Hardy perennnial.

Digitalis Purpurea F1 Dalmatian White. Hardy perennial.

Lamium maculatum “White Nancy”. Spotted Dead Nettle.

Lawn Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile Treneague.

Catmint Nepeta “Six Hill Giant”



Fountain Grass

Cherry Hedelfinger


Viburnum Tinus (Laurustinus)

Magnolia Stellata

Lavandula Augustifolia Hidcote Blue

Eucryphia cordifolia Ulmo

Drimys lanceolata “Red Spice”

Euphorbia amy. Purpurea

Rose Blanc Double de Coubert

Iris Bearded Iris English Cottage

Lonicera caerulea Duet

Cotinus Royal Purple

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 47 1 May 2020: Cherry and Pear trees

Considering it is the first of May it is cold and windy. I got caught in a sudden shower as I was mowing my path through the meadow. The Pound Shop in Clon was selling fruit trees and I simply could not resist and bought a Morello Cherry and a mini-Pear. Chatting to Dutch about trees in general his theory is that it is never really too windy and just to persevere and be patient. With this in mind I am determined to try and find a likely spot for my favourite of all trees, a magnolia. Magnolias hate wind. All the winds of Ireland seem to blow around this house, it is howling as I write this, but it may not be so far fetched. There are sheltered spots, by the front gate for example and actually behind the shed may be a good spot. We will see …. in any case it is all speculation at present as all the garden centres are well and truly shut.

My new toy arrived today, the electric hedge cutter I ordered.

I am trying to galvanise myself into action and go into the garden to put the new trees in water. It’s so damn cold and windy though. I have a Zoom chat booked with Michael at 4 so I will just dash out for an hour. My wildflower seeds have also arrived – I am planning to plant them this evening.

Took out my torn-up cardboard for the compost heap and put the new trees in water. I have realised that as a gardener one is forced to become an optimist. The roots of the cherry look very sad indeed but hey ho – lets see what happens.

The new Morello Cherry and Williams Pear relaxing in their bucket of water.

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 12 28 March 2020: The scent of narcissus

Narcissi and urn

Over the winter the rain had pounded the earth into a hard crust and I was rooting about to break it up and allow the earth to breathe.

The scent of the narcissus wafted across bringing with it a sudden shock of memory. Foggy at first until I remembered the flower-shop in Hong Kong. I was seven and we were to be flower-girls for my adored Auntie Marie.  She was half French and half Chinese and to me the most wonderful creature in my tiny universe.  Marie was a model and was going to marry my Uncle Joe – the most glamorous couple to ever tread the earth – and being a flower-girl was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me.

We had walked from home to the flower shop to choose flowers for the wedding. It was hot and stuffy and crowded on the pavement outside. As we stepped out of the heat and dust it felt like plunging with a sharp smack into a cool tank of water, the scent, fresh and green and heady and I drowned happily, my whole body engulfed. We wore pale yellow dresses for the wedding and carried baskets of pale yellow flowers – perhaps they were a type of narcissi. She was the most beautiful bride in her simple pale lace dress.

Marie and Joe went to live in California, divorced and remarried, both happily. She grew rather fat, drank a bit and took to gambling. We lost touch and she died young. I didn’t cry when she died, at the time it had felt almost like the death of a stranger. So why am I crying now as I did not then; driving through the Irish countryside in this cold spring, years and years later, far, far away from that childhood in Hong Kong, with the ghostly scent of narcissus reminding me of the long-lost girl in her pale dress.