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A horticultural fantasist in the walled garden

By garden volunteer Darrell

Well, I’ve passed the first hurdles: being interviewed by the volunteer manager, Sharda Rozena, who promptly said that she would soon be leaving Fulham Palace – did I say something wrong?

Next a meeting in the garden with Lucy Hart, head gardener, who between making basic enquiries such as ‘could I tell the difference between left and right’ (I can’t, but I didn’t let on), asked a searching question: what could I tell her about Galanthus nivalis and Fraxinus excelsior?  Quick as a flash I replied that to my certain knowledge Galanthus nivalis had only last weekend won the Gustavus Adolphus Cup in the Baltic League; and (here I was a little less confident) wasn’t Fraxinus excelsior the motto of Quercus Ash, Bishop of London in AD 904?

Lucy said nothing.  I hope I haven’t blotted my copy-book – time will tell.  If all goes well, I shall have to let Lucy have a copy of my monograph on Odorifera elegantissima, the Paradise Tree.

We continued a quick tour of the highlights of the garden, a place I have loved for a long time; particularly in the heat of last summer when it was so delightful to sit under a tree with a book, or on a bench in the walled garden, surveying the orchard area and pretending that this was all mine!

I observed a number of workers (who I thought must have been on a community payback scheme or on day release, but later discovered were garden volunteers) shovelling compost, raking paths, cutting back undergrowth – few of whom dared look up as we passed by.  Lucy clearly runs a tight ship!

I hope I shall be selected: it will be purpose with pleasure, an opportunity to engage with other volunteers, and a good day’s workout which is certainly much cheaper than the gym.