April Antics

It’s been quite a week! It started pleasantly enough. Perhaps a few degrees above normal (which is what these days?!) but so comfortable to get things done. Then, the temperatures spiked – we had a heatwave! Almost 90 degrees for three days! With it already being so dry, the heat caused serious concern. Suddenly, watering the vulnerable plants was high priority. Spring plants that had begun blooming began to wilt. It broke my heart to see many of the daffodils so short-lived. Hardly seemed fair. The apple blossoms caught up with the pears and that is an unusual sight. I’m uncertain what that means regarding pollination and fruit formation but nevertheless it’s a pretty sight. And the tulips coming along nicely were jolted into bloom before they’d reached full height. All shorties in flower presently.

In the meadow, the fritillaria have also begun flowering. While they look good, they’re out of sync with the sedge that should be complementing the bobbing snakeheads with their sap green spikes of new growth. The sedge are not quite ready, As a designer and artist, I’m frustrated and disappointed. As a gardener, I’m gravely worried. But, there’s nothing immediate to be done about the current weather pattern so I’m here for the seasons beauty such as it is.

By weeks end, it had mercifully cooled off so the heavy work of emptying the greenhouse of all the winter residents could be accomplished. This task is truly physical – moving the big pots to their various outdoor locations is no picnic.

Each pot also gets a thorough tidying up. A proper trimming, removal of dead growth and any other necessary sprucing. Once every pot is installed in its spot for the season, they’re all given a good dose of organic feed. Helps them get on with the business of growing and flowering and/or fruiting.

It was a long, busy, tiring but very satisfying day. And then it rained at night. Hallelujah.

The very recently emptied greenhouse was cleaned of all winter detritus and is now housing several pots of dahlia tubers being pampered awake in rather cozy quarters. The top layer of the pots have been sown with seeds for micro-greens. I figure we can enjoy the nutritious leaves of peas, beets and broccoli in spring salads until the dahlia growth emerges through and takes over.

I still have other seeds like quince, cardinal vine and nasturtiums to start. The quince will be interesting as I’ve never started those before – they were a gift with an impressive provenance. The seeds are from quince that grows at the Metropolitan Museum’s Cloisters. I feel the pressure! The quince growing in my garden was obtained as a young plant from Hortus Gardens. I think I’ll ask them for advice.

This past week, I had the privilege of previewing the much awaited and immensely popular Lyndhurst Flower Show. It was wonderful. Each of the rooms were decorated by different floral artists resulting in a diverse array of creative, sumptuous, inspired displays. I loved it all. Three in particular stood out for me.

First, was the dining room flooded by the paper creations of lotuses by artist Sourabh Gupta and his team that took my breath away. So very original and beautiful. Do look up his work @sourabh_gupta

The there was the kitchen below – opulently festooned with flowers in bright citrus hues matched with similarly colored vegetables and fruits awaiting the deft hands of the cooks to create meals for the family upstairs, the room was just lovely.

Next door, was the servants dining room and it was adorned with a more simple, organic, free-form arrangement reflecting the humble nature of the space it occupied.

I really appreciated how the arrangements in both rooms were so marvelously interpreted by the individual artists. They spoke volumes.

The flower show was sold out for both days of its tenure. It gives me so much pleasure to imagine the many people who were cheered, awed and inspired by it.

All in all, it was indeed quite a week.

Note: Don’t forget to get tickets for my garden’s Open Day on May 20.

Some images from the Lyndhurst Flower Show and some from my garden right now –

The Dining Room-

The Servant’s Dining Room And the Kitchen –

A couple of other rooms –

In my garden –

(c) 2023 Shobha Vanchiswar

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