Friday, May 9, 2008


My Westringia Fruticosa Wynyabbie is causing me thought.

It's stands (dark green and glossy) between the kitchen window and the dustbin.

Instructions which came with it (that is, with the Westringia Fruticosa Wynyabbie - not with the kitchen window) (nor with the dustbin either) say it should be planted in very dry, not very fertile soil in full sunshine.

(I think people are meant to know what to do with windows and dustbins - which is why you don't get little labels hanging off them when you buy them.)

(Actually, the window came with the house. I didn't have to buy it separately.)

(Though I did buy the dustbin - which probably had a price on but nothing more.)

(And, I suppose, when I think about it, there were a few instructions along with the house - like how to set the timer on the central heating - but I don't use the timer so the instructions were superfluous.)

(Which is a wonderful word - 'superfluous'.)

. . . . . Back to the plant . . . I dug a pit, threw aside the clay the house builders had hidden in the ground - and refilled the hole with gravel mixed with whatever earth was left over.

Then I made a low wall from lumps of Purbeck rock (which came from a Portland Stone quarry - the people who ran the quarry didn't want it - but why they had brought stone all the way from Purbeck when they didn't want it, I don't know! There's this vast, barren landscape with huge boulders and slabs of Portland Stone

- and they go to the trouble of importing a few small lumps from somewhere else. (Testing the opposition, perhaps?) Such are the mysteries of life. Sometimes, all you can do is to accept the inexplicable.)

Anyway - I made a little wall around the Westringia Bush (to stop water flowing into my newly created gravel pit) and hoped for the best.

Only the sun was missing. Lucy's house is in the way. But I hoped a small amount of light falling on the bush in late summer afternoons would be enough to tide it through the rest of the year.

Well, it seems to have worked. It grew high - and wide - and healthy - and happy (in so far as I can tell) - and spread its branches across three paths.

I didn't mind. I was happy to duck under. But visitors complained - especially when it was raining.

Last autumn, bowing to their opinion, I thinned it out and cut it back.

My poor Westringia Fruticosa Wynyabbie didn't like this.

It has refused to flower.

At this time of year, it would usually be encased in thousands of small, pale purple petals.

It isn't.

- Except for a branch I missed which has fallen sideways across one of the paths. Of all the branches on the bush, this alone has flowers.

I could prune it - but what is the point of a flowerless, dustbin revealing, should-be-flowering-but-isn't-bush standing outside the kitchen window?

Which is why my Westringia Fruticosa Wynyabbie is giving me cause for thought.

* * * * *

Lovely name though.

If ever I have a Martian daughter, I will call her Wynyabbie.


Amy said...

(Now there's a great name for a Martian daughter.)

(So sorry to hear your bush didn't like the pruning. Perhaps it will recover eventually).

Anonymous said...

ummm - westringia fruticosa wynyabbie can cope with salt laden winds - perhaps I should get one.
Sorry yours is sad and flowerless.

Esther Montgomery said...

It's the Spanish Broom that postitively enjoys salt laden winds - but the Westringia certainly seems happy here.

Our wind comes predominantly from the West (our East winds are the salty ones).

When the plant was small, we had a terrible wind in the middle of the night - and I was flapping around in the garden in my night clothes rescuing it - while the rest of the world slept.

It split.

But survived.

The next winter, I tied it round with a loose fence of stakes and string (just in case).

Since then, it's been fine.

The pruning - the bush itself remains healthy - and I like its delicate evergreen leaves.

It must be something to do with when the flower buds form.

(Some flowers are now opening on the top - where I cut nothing.)

I'll have to take more advice on when I have to do it next!


Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

It sounds as if it behaves like Forsythia, which should be pruned just after it flowers.

Esther Montgomery said...

Mr McGregor - I think that's probably the answer - it's just that I 'held out' too long before bowing to pressure and cutting it back.

I like a 'Jungle Feel' to my garden.

My friends are less adventurous and prefer not to need pith helmets and machetes when they come to visit!