Dither Posted on May 28, 2012

This is the time of year when they have to send out a search party for me as the light fades and it’s time to decant the claret.


It’s the time of overload anyway, when too much is happening at once. What is a coherent reaction when nineteen plants are calling out to be admired and ground elder is flowering lustily in their midst? This year there is confusion to add to surfeit. Why is

the banksian rose in full flower at the end of May instead of April? Has Magnolia soulangeana finished flowering or not? And why not? Camassias overtook bluebells, weigelas overtook azaleas, ashes are still bare and hawthorns are still opening an unprecedented froth all through the hedges.


This is when I realize how over-full the garden is, how tall the trees are and how jam-packed. An arboretum has become a forest while my back was turned – except that it wasn’t: I’ve been staring at it in ecstatic indecision spring after spring, thinking how lucky I am.

Hugh’s Gardening Books


Trees was first published in 1973 as The International Book of Trees, two years after The World Atlas of Wine….

Hugh’s Wine Books

Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book

I wrote my first Pocket Wine Book in 1977, was quite surprised to be asked to revise it in 1978,…

Friends of Trad

John Grimshaw’s Garden Diary