August cuttings of Lavender take on. They are potted up and fingers
are crossed. Success will be to get them in the ground before the
cold part of winter. Then, if our subterranean neighbors permit it,
these little plants should be established by this time next year.
I once worked for an enthusiastic plant person who refused to buy plants,
or seeds, or peat, or soil. She needed someone who could work
quickly at odd hours of the day. Clean humus for her clay was
acquired from a woodland that lay beyond a no trespassing sign.
Ancient Beech trees amongst which Bluebells had cast their spell. It
was not as though she needed a great deal, she explained. Her eyes
sparkling with a thrill of addiction.
And she was
right of course. In a garden with no stomach for a compost pile and
in places where Canadian peat is expensive, leaf mold has no substitute,
unless one is fortunate enough to live near an abandoned railway tunnel in
which mushrooms are grown. There, one can find perfect humus, but
because of the demand, it is not free.
During that season I used to call Autumn,
my employer appeared to renew friendships and I would find myself laboring
for her in other people's gardens. Dividing perennials with cold
fingers, while she offered advice and conversation. Most of her
friends apparently worked, but I could never be certain of this.
She had, near her kitchen door at her
home, a shed with a wide south facing window. Her husband, when he was
alive, used it for what she called his hobby. He had been gone a long
time but the remnants of him suggested he had been interested in
clocks. In this shed she propagated plants. Not simple things
like Lavender, or Buddleia, but African Violets and exotically named palm
trees, samples of which she had acquired under what I guessed where very suspicious
In a bar, not far from her home, a man my
own age introduced himself to me as her son. He told me his mother was
probably not dangerous, but best not take everything she said as
gospel. He told me, I had recently ravaged his neighbor's perennial
borders while the homeowners were taking their holiday. On their
return he had been blamed and they had called in the