I’ve given up even trying to make a list of plants I simply must take to our new garden. Too many painful decisions, for a start – but also the feeling that it’s wrong to hang on. Do I really want to walk round one garden remembering another? If I have discovered that a plant is good, grows well for me, fills a useful role and provides moments of real excitement as it shoots, or buds, or flowers, or when the leaves turn, or even as a winter tuft of hope, I’d like to take it, or a cutting or a wodge in a pot. But not at any price. Nurseries are full of unexplored opportunities.
Thinking about moving, though, has made me remember quite humble commonplace things I rely on and would miss. I was thinking about my favourite campanula, the peach-leaved C. persicifolia: what an easy loyal friend it is, self-seeding generously and then, unlike plants that go to ground, hide for the winter and only remind you they’re there in spring, outfacing the frosts with a neat evergreen rosette of leaves from which, suddenly and vigorously, its summer spire shoots up. Then what wild-flower beauty it achieves with its clear porcelain bells, either white or a pale bluebell blue. Just imagining it, on a dire February day, gives me goose-pimples of anticipation.
There are flowers I forget between seasons. The snowflake is one; you may think it just a snowdrop with pretensions, but when it rises among and above them (as it does by the logshed path) with its leaves not grey-blue but bright summer green, not bashful like the snowdrops but almost brazenly open for business, it feels more like a visiting stranger than the streamside native it is.