Currently on a week's secondment to Oxford where I'm teaching a course on the eighteenth century landscape garden (students all particularly raving about Tim Richardson's wonderful Arcadian Friends, just out in paperback). We had a hot trip to Stowe and an amazing time at Rousham, and we even managed to take a turn around Addison's Walk (of which more in a later post).
The biggest problem of the week is managing to retain any kind of semblance of an air of horticultural authority in the face of all the weird stuff the class have managed to spot growing in flowerbeds. And of course I have no reference books.
The first problem was the pink flower in the first image. "Its name is on the tip of my tongue," I told the class, confidently, yet it never actually arrived. I looked like an idiot. Nevertheless, I scored some points recognising Salvia "Hot Lips" in a Magdalen college border, seen first at Hampton Court. But then I lost them again on this mysterious daisy. (Daisy-ish? Oh god, fine, make me beg. JUST PLEASE TELL ME THE NAME.)
And what in god's name is this fella (left)? I think I have some credit in the ID bank after I put a name to Garden Monkey's oddity -
so somebody, please help me get my reputation back with the Oxford
crowd. Don't lose all respect for me - can't you just think it's sort
of sweet that I don't know what they are? Missing you, xxx