One effect of the recent sunshine has been to trap the scent of flowers in the walled garden where Oliver and Liat Schurmann run Mount Venus Nursery. The nursery specializes in perennials: those plants that come up and fill out a flower bed year after year. The stock is divided into sections: sun / full-shade / semi-shade and Oliver, Liat or Paul are happy to advise on which are the best co-habitants in any bed or border. As their perennial stock is propagated on site, these plants are hardier than those hot-housed in Dutch polytunnels and imported by Lidl.
In addition to a range of flowers and herbs, you’ll find Japanese maples, climbers, rare shrubs, and this afternoon, I spied this stunning rose. ‘Queen of Sweden’, like its peachier neighbor ‘Sweet Juliet’, has a heady, strong old-fashioned scent, and these two were, according to Oliver, the pick of David Austin’s crop this year. Unfortunately I don’t have the patience for roses, I’m saving my pruning skills for later in life, but I have given one to a dedicated friend. The nursery is now open seven days a week and among the plants I’m coveting in my commitment to an easy gardening life are a tall, creamy white, slug-resilient monkshood, some of the upright nepeta and the airier umbellifers that Liat particularly likes. Jean Bleakney, the Northern Irish poet, wrote well of them too:
” . . . that lacy-leafed jungle of umbellifers
adumbrating each other’s flat-topped inflorescences . . .”
(‘The Fairy-Tale Land of Um’, from The New Irish Poets, Bloodaxe 2004).