Lavenders blue dilly, dilly,
When I am king, dilly, dilly,
You shall be Queen.
Call up your men dilly, dilly,
Set them to work,
Some to the plough, dilly, dilly,
Some to the cart.
Some to make hay, dilly, dilly,
Some to thresh corn,
Whilst you and I, dilly, dilly,
After so many rainy days , after hours spent under electric lights in the gloomy summer of July, I keep thinking back to what seems the one perfect day of sunshine in June.
A blistering hot day in the Kent countryside at Downderry Nursey www.downderry-nursery.co.uk viewing lavenders within a walled garden. A birthday experience to blow away the cobwebs and mildew, one that doesn't need to be put on the shelf after unwrapping and dusted, just one that is to be enjoyed.
Rather ironic, as when young I used to wrinkle my nose at the thought and smell of lavenders. My Mother would say that the wind might blow and my face would stay that way.
Now my flower beds are full of roses and lavender and my sleeping beds sprayed with lavender linen spray.
So, on this Sunday, the erudite owner Simon Charlesworth gave us a tour of the nursey, the greenhouses and the lavender fields. We peeked at the collection being grown for Hampton Court. We sniffed the distillation of oil with its pungent aroma. We talked of bees and fertilisation. We marvelled at the huge number of plants, over 250 species. We travelled the World as we learnt of their origins- none of which are native to the UK.
We heard of Angustifoli and Lavandins. We looked at toothed and woolly lavenders. They were delicate, half-hardy and hardy. With exotic and flamboyant names they made me wish I had paid attention in latin at school. Pedunculata,stoechas, forma,dentata and lanata. Oh let's talk English-Hidcote,Gorgeous,Liberty,Fathead and Ballerina.
We discussed planting and pruning and picking beneath the best use of umbrellas I can think of.
We tasted lavender ice cream and wandered in this fragrant , seductive, secret garden and I contemplated the words of the herbalist John Gerard who said that lavender would' helpe the panting and passion of the heart'.