June Circular Part Two

Thursday 6th July 2017

My garden opening under the National Gardens Schemes took place just after the General Election. There was a luncheon buffet before and a seated tea afterwards for private guests and 150 of the public were admitted. I’ve opened now for five years and this was the best because of the good weather. There was so much out – roses, alliums, delphiniums, Canterbury bells, day lilies, lilies, the tiny Persian rock cress grown from seed by the Gay Mother. One visitor asked what was my favourite thing. I said the campanula that grows as a weed in the walls and happened to be flowering for the opening – great sheets of silver blue as a background to the garden. Such luck it was out. Aunt Lavinia arrived at 4 and complained afterwards she hadn’t had any tea. ‘I saw the cucumber sandwiches under clingfilm…’ – this is Joshua Baring Art. He is the Rembrandt of the cucumber sandwich. But the seated tea was at 5.30 and she left at 4.30 to get back to her bulldog. Lord Arrowby arrived with ten minutes to spare before the public arrived but said nobody was to have any more lunch. He said he’d been on government business because of the crisis but in fact had come directly from the Dries catwalk. He had on sensational beyond-lemon, beyond even custard, yellow slacks in a clingy springy experimental fabric, a Dries hunting coat in a Jacobean wall-hanging pattern and embossed snake-skin slip-ons – no socks. Later on he got a call from the Government and had to leave. I expect the PM was deeply interested in his frockage because she loves frockage. Rufus Pitman ribbed Lord Arrowby mercilessly and Raj Zoraster was seen flitting about before whirling off, probably for a left-wing rally. Speaking of which, my seated tea was very crowded, although up-graded from previous years because I’ve now got three tea-pots instead of one small one. I said to the assembly, ‘I don’t know what more Jeremy Corbyn wants. This house is tiny. And I wouldn’t be allowed to install a B&Q front door like his because it’s a conservation area.’

A few days later I visited Merle Barr’s allotment at Highgate (not the same patch as tilled by Jeremy Corbyn). What a secret world of allotments hidden in prime London territory. It was boiling and we lunched off the remains of the buffet I’d done for the Opening – chicken salad, cold fillet beef with sorrel sauce, sea trout with samphire and radish, strawberries and gooseberry fool. Then we weeded, picked (Merle wouldn’t have it that the broad beans were more than ready: she wanted them bigger) and toured – all agreeably ramshackle and old-world. Even old men installed leaning on pitch forks complaining. On the way back we stopped off in Highgate to look at the shrine to George Michael outside his house there. He was quite prancing and glancing, wasn’t he? He would have thought it a bit ridic, people arranging little dolls under trees and terrible kitsch framed photos with overwrought messages. I wonder how it’s all kept going through wind and rain and possible dogs coming in. It’s just a little patch of park with trees.

Merle Barr's Allotment with Own Hut

Merle Barr’s Allotment with Own Hut

Merle Barr Allotment: Terrific Responsibility of Fruit Trees and Vegetables

Merle Barr Allotment: Terrific Responsibility of Fruit Trees and Vegetables

Merle Barr Allotment: Traditional Water Tank and Roses

Merle Barr Allotment: Traditional Water Tank and Roses

George Michael Shrine: HIghgate

George Michael Shrine: Highgate

George Michael Shrine: Highgate

George Michael Shrine: Highgate: Note the Picket Fence

 

Posted Friday, July 7, 2017 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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