I left home again.
We went to gaze at and learn about erythroniums, this being the time of year to do that. And to have a day out. We went to Greencombe Gardens in Porlock, Somerset. Porlock is, of course, famous for the unwanted person who woke Coleridge from an opium dream. Yep, Coleridge was a dope addict. But a good poet for all that – my favourite poem of his being The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which even Charles has enjoyed and he’s no poetry lover.
But we didn’t go to visit Coleridge, or obtain opium, we went for flowers. We are rather erythronium fans. We grow some in a small coppice for our spring pleasure: just for us, because we don’t open in spring, and that somehow makes them and our daily visits special. But best of all, for us, is that Charles plants a hundred Erythronium Pagoda in our woods every year and has done for some thirty years now. The result is amazing and delightful to us.
We mentioned this to the owner of Greencombe Garden, who has the National Collection of erythroniums. Our description made him go rather pale. To keep a pristine and accurate National Collection you have to religiously dead head all the flowers so they don’t breed. Now, Pagoda does not set seed, so this should not be necessary for this particular variety, but clearly, for all that, the idea of hundreds of them was a nightmare idea to our erythronium man.
So we set off to explore.
Into a woodland path, past an ancient holly:
And then, I am very sorry to say, our first erythronium was a bit of an anticlimax. American too!!!!
What a let down, you lot. According to the creator of the garden, Joan Loraine, in her booklet ‘Hunting the Dog’s Tooth’ these plants ‘need the stimulus of restriction to make them flower.’ But do they ever open when they do flower? Well, not for us. Onwards….
We loved this:
And here we are – an erythronium in full flower!
You know I hate labels, but here, identifying the items in a collection for the benefit of us all, they are essential. And these are definitely as pleasing as a label gets, I think. And now we’re away, one after another:
But revolutum is. It’s a real spreader, bounces happily around and it’s one of our favourites at Veddw.
And so it goes on, and on – I will put more pictures of these wonderful flowers at the bottom of this post, for those of you who are falling for their spell. Meanwhile there were also things like this (must be a Camelia?):
But also like this:
And there was this, of course:
Wood anemones, which I love – here’s double! Bring me one!!!
Where there is any space for it, there is moss:
which also illustrates why this garden is so good for low growing spring plants – it’s so sloped that you can look up at them when they are beside the path.
And there is the view out to the sea:
A great day trip for us and a real education in erythronium-ing.
Well done, if you got this far. Go and begin your collection.