‘Surely there can’t be any space in here’ I think as I stand with my trowel and a plant pot, intent on infiltrating yet another favourite into one of our diminutive beds.
I have a mental root map of the garden. A few are all too obvious; the sycamore’s, for example – and it’s no good trying to plant the clematis there, where the trellis needs help to hide the goings-on next door. The Viburnum x burkwoodii has had the wall to itself for twenty years and has its roots akimbo; thick forearms right on the surface. No room to plant a pot, so perhaps I’ll try a climber from seed. Eccremocarpus scaber would help, with its plentiful leaves and little red (or, if I can find the seed, yellow) flowers.
In another spot where you’d think the rose, the chaenomeles and the hydrangea, never mind the sarcococca and the hellebores and ferns next to them have completely filled the soil with roots, my trowel meets hardly any resistance. How come the residents haven’t taken up all the parking space? (They certainly have on the road outside).
So the new columbines (white), brunnera (blue), trollius (‘alabaster’) and rose (Iceberg) I brought home from Rassells’ over the road are safely installed. It suddenly dawned on me as I cleaned my tools that I was wearing rubber gloves to plant them. I’ve never done that before. Am I growing lily-fingered in my old age?