After a lunch with the sisters, the dear mama and the nieces (poor Mr Shoestring being the only male present but putting on a brave face), the dear mama gave me this beautiful silver piece which I think is half of a traditional nurse's belt buckle presented upon graduating from training and becoming a registered nurse in England or possibly Scotland. Somewhere or other the other half is to be found (I had to insist to the dear mama that I do not posses it, and she has not given it to me in the past), but I am sure if I do some research I will be able to discover what part of England or Scotland it comes from and what year it was issued, using the hallmarks for silver. I love the look of the little cherubs though the one on the left looks decidedly more sombre than the one on the right, who has a cheeky grin. It could quite easily be worn on a chain as a necklace.
One of the sisters has recently moved to a new home so we all got to play that wonderful game where you descend on the garden of the poor defenceless new home owner and trail through it, looking for interesting and unusual plants which you can uproot and transport to your own garden. We came away with a couple of new irises (one a very nice yellow and one mystery specimen), plus the obligatory "pity" plant. I don't know whether other people have "pity" plants but I suspect I could easily end up with a "pity" garden. This week's candidate was a monstera deliciosa (Swiss cheese plant or "delicate monster", which were wildly fashionable in the 1960s but like so many other unfortunates have fallen from grace). My sister only wanted to be rid of the wretched thing, so we have carted it back to our garden and given it a spot in the hope that it will survive. These are the plants you put in your garden not because you love them or have a suitable spot for them, but because they deserve a place to put down their poor tired old roots. If there is any sign of gratefulness from the delicate monster it will make itself at home and put on a good show, but if not nobody needs to feel that they haven't done their best for the orphan.
I managed to wheedle this interesting bromeliad from the dear mama. It actually will climb up the trunk of a tree and I am fully prepared to cosset it and give it anything its heart desires
Everything in the garden is thriving and I was very pleased to see this rose flowering. I bought it last year from the bargain bin at Le Maison Rouge and I didn't remember what colour it was supposed to be, or its name. (I can't bear to put the name tags of plants in the garden, because if they die as they sometimes do, you can be left with a dreary collection of little markers which give the garden the appearance of a graveyard with tombstones spotted all around the place, very dreary and disheartening.)
The hydrangeas which were tiny cuttings last year are starting to flex their muscles and I am thinking that some culling might be in order - what with the magnolias, the Australian frangipani, all the hydrangeas plus the philadelphus and other shrubs.
These lavatera trimestris I grew from seed last year and they have proved to be a great success. The interesting thing about them (apart from their resolution to thrive and put on a good show) is that some of them have a slight green tinge around the edge of the petals, as the one above, some are pure white, and some have a slightly pink blush. Perhaps it depends upon how much sun they receive?
I badly wanted a philadelphus (mock orange blossom) for the perfume but this one didn't offer up a single blossom last year - after a severe pruning to show it who was boss if has fallen into line and given us some beautiful scented flowers this year.
The most exciting find this week was the Christmas present Mr Shoestring gave me. (Very early for a Christmas present and we will wrap it up and put it away until Christmas.) It has everything to recommend itself to me. Black checks, golden touches, roses and a hint of green, could anything be more perfect? A French antique canister set, I am in paradise. The one sad thing is that I might have to retire the more pedestrian cream and green enamelled ones (in the top picture), but perhaps we could have a rotation system going on. That would seem fair.