Friday, 16 March 2007

Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine.....



As a child, when on holiday on the island where my parents grew up, I used to stay with my favourite Aunt Lily. I have vivid memories of helping her as we stood at her kitchen table, singing along together, while kneading a batch of loaves made with barley flour, or mixing up ingredients to make fruit and plain scones or rolling out pastry for an apple pie. The aroma of the bread, coming from her blackened stove, never failed to whet my appetite.

Outside my bedroom window, were the sounds of bumble bees buzzing around the vigorous honeysuckle growing up the walls of my Aunt Lily's cottage. The heady perfume, wafting in the open windows, seemed to fill every room, while outside, its scent followed me around the garden.

Here at Barleycorn, we have several species of honeysuckle which climb over arches, up through supports in front of the barn, along the walls of the house, as well as up through a crab-apple tree, and along a fence we share with one of our neighbours.

Periclymenum Belgica, whose roots prefer to be in shade, has flowers which are red on the outside and pale primrose within. The aphids which love them are gobbled up by flocks of hungry sparrows which come throughout the year to my husband’s bird-feeders. The Autumn berries are eaten by blackbirds and thrushes.

Along the front wall of the barn we planted Henryi, a vigorous evergreen species, with its tapered dark green leaves and tubular purplish-red flowers. After sixteen years, it has reached a height and spread of three metres. Halliana, supported along one wall of the house, has pale-cream flowers which turn yellow before fading.

It was inevitable that I would want to make room in our garden for plants I associate with my beloved Aunt. So strong are my memories of her, that, to this day, whenever I close my eyes and breathe in the scent of honeysuckle, I am drawn back in time, a little girl once more, standing outside my Aunt Lily’s cottage.

8 comments:

Thalia said...

Dear Wildlife Gardener,

Childhood memories are so vivid, aren't they? I was transported to my childhood too reading the account of your memories.

martin said...

Is there a plant called a tobacco plant as I remember my grandfather always saying it was his favourite
plant. I would love to plant some one day.

A wildlife gardener said...

I think it's the one called nicotiana...you know, from where we get the word nicotine, hence tobacco plant. It has a beautiful perfume, especially in the summer evenings, so that the moths will be attracted to it, and thus pollinate it. I love it because it's easy to grow.

martin said...

Thank you for that I will make a note and plant some in my new garden......one day

Green thumb said...

I cannot think of a better way to remember and value your loved ones.Thanks wild life gardener, for being so inspiring.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Isn't it wonderful the memories gardening can bring back for us? I hope I am creating memories for my grandsons as well! It seems that no one "gardens" these days they "landscape".

I love the honeysuckle, I have a large one also. The winter before last it had quite a bit of winter kill so I had to cut it way back, I am eager to see what it does this spring.

RUTH said...

wonderful memories...you must get some yourself

Gotta Garden said...

Oh, that's beautiful! I'm sure your aunt would be so pleased! Wonderful pictures!