Yesterday was balmy - sunlight and blossom and the unfurling of new leaves. I met my friend Georgina for a walk down in the Stour valley by the clear waters of the River Box. We parked up beside a dour bearded man launching a coracle with magpie lurcher on a lead. Climbing the hill to Withermarsh Green, this was our view back over the valley to Polstead Church. Contains Norman brick arches and is unique, round here, for having a spire.
[caption id="attachment_93" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Cottage Garden "]
This is the just moment to admire the local cottage gardens bursting into colour with tulips and grape hyacinths in full spate, roses pruned, buds bursting, vegetable patches in weeded submission. We passed several such houses and I love the way that practical horticultural skills are beautiful with the self conscious constrictions of design thrown out. You do what you like - and it works.
The map took us up the side of ploughed fields, through woods and along lanes where the road had sunk well below the hedgelines. Gnarled old hawthorn and hazel breaking green from iron hard branches. We were back at the river again, flowing clear and busy like the chalk streams of Hampshire. The fishermen showed off their catch: rainbow and brown trout.
After a quick cheese sandwich out of a tiffin tin, I drove on alone to PW Plants in Kenninghall to buy bamboos. Paul, the owner, is not just Mr Bamboo (one day I will write about my bamboo bed planting as advised by him) - he has quite a few years of horticulture at his back - for instance former judge for Royal Horticultural Society and member of their Woody Plant Committee. His garden is full of varieties and surprises and the planting is done with the surest of eyes. For now, I just have to post a picture of this incredible tree in his garden.
This is Acer negundo Violaceum
It really is shiny tassled pink like a pair of pricey Liberty earrings. To complete the picture, transport yourself to one of Jay Gatsby's parties and wear with flapper dress complemented with long ivory cigarette holder and smouldering black sobrani. Paul tells me that the new winter growth is lustrous and the foliage comes out a glaucous violet colour. Incredible.
On the way home, took the wrong turning and stopped to read map. Happened upon a mass attack of crazy topiary. I am afraid I trespassed to take this picture.
[caption id="attachment_92" align="alignright" width="300" caption="clipped yews"]
These were just a few examples of a large outbreak of clipped yew shapes. Would I like to live with them? I suspect they come alive at night.