The first time I paid a gardener to transform the back yard, she did a marvelous job. The bamboo, camellia, dwarf acer, heather, hydrandrea x 2 (both white-flowering, one a normal squat bushy one and the other a standard that’s remained a standard hydrangea instead of turning into an echo of the variegated topiary ball grafted onto a willow root that is now compost story, see here). She also gave me an ornamental thistle, onopordum acanthus, and the picture shown here is from Wikipedia. It was ornamental: Statuesque, imposing, with a purple flower, and a scary silhouette (think Lisa Simpson’s hair, jagged and fab, you just have to look twice when it’s swaying those spikes about in the garden at night). Sadly, the ornamental thistle went the way of the variegated topiary ball and is no more. I would have had to dig out the laurels, fuchsia, mock orange (philadelphus), and elderberry tree for the ornamental thistle to flourish where she put it. Of course, 10 years later, as a gardener in my own right, I realize I could have saved it by prioritizing it over the eejitry of the ill-conceived semi-circular beds radiating out of the table platform in the front garden, but I’m resolutely staying out of that particular valley of tears.
Origanum, is a version of oregano and marjoram, both of which feature in year-round cookery here, and in summer get bought as potted herbs in the grocery store rather than a nursery. And Osmunda regalis, was another of that wonder girl’s introduction to Gortroe, Co Dublin. It’s a fern. A deciduous fern. It must be just about to pop up again. I love magic. 🙂 I haven’t killed it. Yay! It just sleeps for the winter like every sensible organism.
I’ll have to tell you some day about the stories Daddy told us: the one about how farmers just sleep all winter long was something. It made me think you can work for three seasons and do the tra-la-la stuff for the other one.