I’ve always loved gardening and my dream has always been to have a garden of my own. Ever since I was a little girl. When I was about 6, my adored grandfather(allotmenteer,avid reader of cowboy books which he would start at the end, and bellringer. He used to bike round to the various village churches and direct the intricate weaving of the order of ringing the bells in a peal) Well grandfather allowed me a portion of his garden, It was a strip… and all mine! It came with a few flowers already there, a Monkey musk( Mimulus) I believe and a Leucojum. Of course, the budding landscape gardener inside me, , wanted to start from scratch! So, I took all the plants out and lay them, on the path, under the sun. When the grown -ups discovered this , they were furious! Grandfather was so cross that he actually resorted to corporal punishment, which consisted in his brushing me across the back with his cap! ooohhh the power of symbols. I was chastised, ashamed and tearful. In the end my granny (sympathetic) my mum (angry) and grandfather (aloof) helped me get the wilted plants back into the ground, Talk about a steep learning curve!! You might be glad to know that I am now the proud owner of a lovely garden,in progress, as English-looking as possible for someone gardening in Italy!
I do an awful lot ot thinking about my garden! Recentlly I’ve been having thoughts about what Gilles Clement calls “Les vagabondes” and everyone else calls weeds. Rather than real weeds from somewhere over the fence, although that particular exchange tends to take place but in the opposite direction, I’ m thinking about plants which won’t stay put ,or smother the more delicate ones with their thug-like ways. Blessed, or cursed as may be with very fertile soil, it’s a constant battle to keep the precious ones alive! My lovely , grandmotherly (because they were among her favourites) Dianthus Mrs. Sinkins is struggling against an overwhelming show of Japanese Anemones. And the adored Regal Lilies fighting a losing battle against Michaelmas daisies! Since I tore up their roots things are looking better.
I thought it was only bamboo that needed drastic measures! Hostas planted in the wrong places are thriving and and Hellebores are simply hooligans. Certainly all these crowders give a good show, but I’m looking for something daintier, a little more loath to spill its guts!
On Monday evening I went to La Scala, to see what is the last opera for me before the summer break. It was Verdi’s Masnadieri. The music was instantly attractive although I don’t really like these strings of beautiful arias threaded together. What is worse, it encourages the audience to applaud after every one thus leading to a break -down of any dramatic tension that might have been building up .Some of the scenes were noisy and confused (as they should be) and the choreographed noisy marching, or rather stamping around all over the stage, was strangely fascinating. Some of the tableaux vivants were a little too stagey for my taste too….BUT….I came home and read the programme notes through from beginning to end and found some of the pictures very illuminating, certainly bringing the opera down to a more realistic level. It has also prompted me to make sure Schiller is next on my reading list. So to say I didn’t particularly enjoy it is, in fact ,nonsense!