Wednesday, May 14, 2008



The sense of power was immense.


I glanced round at elderly shoppers with bags; tourists with cameras; waitresses with black dresses - and sucked in the secrecy.

I have no idea why extra-terrestrials are travelling round Dorset on a bus.

But this much is clear - they don't want people to know.

. . . . . . . . . . Of course - Didcott came home.

* * * * *
I wish he weren't called 'Didcott'.

Didcott is an uninteresting town with a power station and a railway museum.

'Worthing' is worse.

People only know it's there because Bernard Shaw bought a ticket for Worthing when he left his baby at Victoria.

(In a handbag).
* * * * *
The Clematis Armandii is sprouting long, wavy shoots from its fibrously dead-looking branches.

* * * * *

Ming's given me a purple Aquilegia for the garden. The proper ones are called 'Granny's Bonnet'.
The flower on this one looks like a sparse chive.

I shall plant it next to his clump of dead grass.

* * * * *

Ceres, Robert and Caddis have a new baby sister.

For Tomorrow


garden girl said...

Esther, columbines are my favorite flowers. I like the wild ones, and I especially love the bi-colored cultivated varieties. I planted eight of them last year, pink and white and blue and white. Five came back. They got attacked by leaf miners last year and were very stunted, but still bloomed for months. I'm pleased to see most of them came back after their struggle with the bugs.

Esther Montgomery said...

Linda - This clears up a puzzle for me.

In quite a lot of gardening blogs - I've noticed people are growing 'Columbine'.

I've found this very strange because, to me, 'Columbine' is another word for 'Bindweed' - 'Convolvulus' - the wild (white) version of Morning Glory.

It is very beautiful but, once let it near your garden, it'll climb over everything in sight. Within two weeks, you won't be able to see any of your plants!

Aquilegia (to me) is completely different.

It is about 13 inches high. The flower is like a drooping bell - very delicate and elegant (about and inch and a half long) - and beautiful, subtle colours.

The Aquilegia Ming brought home stands upright (instead of letting the flower hang down) and has weird little flowers that aren't anything like hats (much more like chive flowers, only smaller).

But the leaves are clearly 'Aquilegia', not 'Convolvulus'.

So - now I'm not sure which is what.

Do you have a photo on your blog - or one you could email me?

(Bother - I must have been wrong all these years about Bindweed.)

(That explains my confusion.)

(But is this just me in a muddle or is it a case of Common Names being used differently?)

I'm rambling, I'd better have lunch!


p.s. I've just typed Aquilegia Clementine Gem into Google images and the one we've got is second from the left.

PPS. We've asked friends if we can have seeds from their Aquilegias so we will have the flowers we really want next year.

(Still haven't had lunch!)

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

While I love Aquilegias, I can't work any enthusiasm up for the doubles, such as 'Clementine Purple.' For me, all the charm of the flower is lost. Give me good old-fashioned Granny's Bonnets - just make sure they have variegated or gold foliage.

chey said...

Hi Esther,We call our aquilegias columbines as well. I prefer the wild ones also, as I find them to be more resistant to slugs.They also freely self seed.

James said...

Bernard Shaw ? Oscar Wilde, surely.
I think Worthing a charming name and the Didcot power station is a much maligned landmark.

Esther Montgomery said...

James - I think they used to collaborate.


Esther Montgomery said...

P.S. Cooling towers look magnificent - from trains.

Less enthusiastic after living near Didcot for while.

Some days, it was hard to breathe - steam in the air.

(Come to think of it, I suppose I'd rather be called Didcott than Dungeness.)


emmat said...

I was just about to leave a post in praise / defence of Didcot, but I see James got there first.

I LOVE those cooling towers!

My best ever Didcot experience though was on Halloween, where I was driving up the M40 back to London. First of all as I headed up past Stokenchurch, I looked to my right to see the sun setting behind Didcot lit up like William Blake's satanic mills.

I guess I normally don't go past that time of day, but the sun was behind the towers, which were steaming away, and there was this blazing sky of chemical red and orange and yellow. And then, I was overtaken by a small Nissan Sunny driven by Satan with horns a cape and everything.

My best Halloween ever. Apart from Los Angeles, where... (that's enough, Ed.)

Esther Montgomery said...


Power - and fire - and steam - and sunsets - and chemicals - and drama - and the overwhelming majesty of industrial architecture . . . .

. . . . and Worthing . . . .