Tuesday, June 22, 2010
LILIES AND SISSINGHURST
There is among my s gardening books a gorgeously illustrated compilation of gardening columns Vita Sack-West wrote for The Observer. Few of her recommendations apply to my humid, bug and deer infested West Virginia garden. I read them with pleasure nevertheless and I dream of buying the available land around my house until I realize that it would take and a huge staff to tidy up the jungly grounds. As it is, mowing,, watering--I use gray water--and perfunctory weeding are all I can manage. I would not know what to do with an English castle and a formal garden except what Adam Nicolson's father did--he donated it to the National Trust.
Nicolson's book, for which I wrote am uttterly unsatisfactory review--see www.richtexts.blogspot.com-- is about his effort to return the Sissinghurst farm to organic gardening. He loves the land, he knows its history and geology and he obviously cares about it deeply. He tells the story of the place with grace with which his grandparents gardened. The result is a richly entertaining book in which the author imparts information about history, economics and social change in an eminently readable style.
In my garden, such as it is, it is lily season. The few bulbs the voles missed during their endless bacchanialia, are in bloom. None of the two collections of daylilies from White Flower farm survived. None of the collections of Oriental bulbs--dozens of them--made it. The dozens of Csablanca lilies planted in flowers beds, perished. But a few daylilies, a pink trumpet I dislike intensely and potted Casablanca lilies persist. The deer nibble the blossoms of pink trumpet, but they avoid a few of the specialty daylilies planted near a clump of lavender. Perhaps a huge lavender hedge would keep them away from flowers and veggies. I think I will apply to the National Trust. I wonder if they would consider taking over a log house built twenty five years ago.