My garden was looking so pretty this morning that I took some photos of the irises, osteospermums, and my pride and joy Echium Fastuosum, common name Pride of Madeira (the name of which I have only just this minute looked up in our ever-useful flower book, “Mediterranean Garden Plants” written by our local garden centre owner Lorraine Cavanagh).
This plant was given to me as a cutting probably four or five years ago and it sat unloved in a pot for far too long. Then I claimed a bit of waste land to make into a flower bed and planted it smack bang in the middle. It did quite well. Grew into a spherical bush. As it got taller and grew above the wall it was planted against Liana discovered she could reach it from other side of the wall and nibble the leaves as they grew. I eventually got around to putting some chicken wire behind it to block Liana’s constant pruning. But she always remembered her liking for the plant and would make a grab for it as she was led out of her yard for a ride.
I looked on the bright side and decided that all the pruning would make it a more bushy and rounded plant, which is what it has grown to be. It is evergreen and quite un-striking, but nevertheless a useful centrepiece for my flower bed.
And this spring I was absolutely delighted when it put out tall flower spikes for the first time, just green to begin with, but with the promise of a beautiful clear blue, the colour of a brilliant Mediterranean sky. It has taken weeks for the flowers to start to show and I look at them with pride every time I pass.
And then a couple of weeks ago our farrier came to put new shoes on Liana. I love Tony, he is a real bloke, with lots of interesting tales and sometimes a bit of gossip. He brings his 4×4 down our steep drive and then reverses into Liana’s yard so that his furnace and tools are available from the back of his car. And guess what? He reversed straight over my precious Pride of Madeira, ripping off more than a few of the lower branches and leaving them chewed up on the drive. I couldn’t make a fuss because it would have seemed very churlish to a bloke for me to get all stressed over a plant. So I took it in my stride and pruned back the damaged branches and was just glad that the flower spikes were not affected.
Today has been a fabulous day, with a bright blue sky and a gentle breeze to take a little of the heat out of the sun. This morning my Echium looked beautiful, with the flower spikes finally in full bloom, contrasting with the irises and the burnt orange colour of the osteospermums. I am so very pleased I captured the scene this morning.
Because this evening we have just returned from a quick trip to the shops and arrived home to find Liana canoodling with one of Eva’s horses over the ménage gate. She has never previously escaped whilst we have been out. Normally if one of us leaves the gate open (which happens very rarely) we can hear her hooves on the concrete drive, and in any case Roly lets us know in no uncertain terms that something is amiss by barking ferociously until Liana is safely back in her own space.
So I rushed down to fetch a head collar so that I could lead her back home and immediately noticed that her first job on attaining freedom was to demolish my plant.
I am sure I will get over it, but meanwhile I am indulging myself in a very childish sulk, and have broken my diet and am supping a de-stressing glass of cava. It’s not working yet – I may have to repeat the exercise whilst I look at my photos!