21 June 2011

In Praise of Praecox

The Head Gardener at Brooke Hall is a sunny person and is never seen in foul weather gear (or any of the dreary clothes which many gardeners are drawn to). It is my double regret that he is so good at delegating as his conversation is always thought-provoking and he'd be fun to dig next to. He does stop to talk however and sometimes he moves the hose around while I do the watering, and today he does just that.

I am administering to 10 extra large pots of agapanthus in the forecourt. These plants have been at Brooke Hall for at least sixty years, says the HG. They are evergreen and tender but survive the cold, and rally round after being chopped up. They spend their summers en plein air in Northamptonshire and they winter under glass, which is sometimes frozen on the inside. They are Agapanthus Praecox, nothing else, just as they were described no doubt in the original catalogue. This is the quintessential agapanthus plant, and it has no name except Praecox, should anyone ask.

But the best thing about this Agapanthus Praecox, says the Head Gardener, the really special thing, is the luminous blue around the base of the bud - just before it bursts open.

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