the bug


I am a collector. It’s a failing, but there you have it. Always collected things, but not always the same things and periodically I purge, travel light for a time, enjoy not collecting. But gradually the collecting bug sneaks up again.

pink-hellebore spotted-hellebore-2As a child it was Britain’s farm animals, Observer’s Books and stamps, all enabled by my dad who regularly added to all of my collections. I still have most of them.  I’m keeping the animals for the next generation and the books are too precious to part with. Several were childhood birthday presents, inscribed to me in dad’s roundhand writing.

When I started earning there were records, and old plates. I was fond of old Spode and Worcester  plates picked up for a song in junk shops in Devon.

And when there were gardens, plant collections began. Fuchsias, campanulas, violas, mostly now left in gardens around England where I have stayed for a time. That was Dad’s influence again. He liked Chrysanthemums, although I have never been bitten by that particular bug.

A few years passed when I worked long hours and all I collected were school books and stationery and I still have more pens and pencils from that time than I will use in a lifetime, but now I think I can feel the plant collecting bug again. After all, if one is good then more is probably better. Right?

Remember the lovely hellebore that appeared? It has been joined in flower by three others and last week, whilst shopping for bread flour, bdouble-hellebore-2y this glorious double from Credale nurseries that just happened to be on sale at the shop where we buy the flour. Food for the stomach and food for the soul too. I could hear its siren song calling as we paid for the flour. Such a sweet song. I couldn’t leave it behind……

Walking around the garden I recorded 7 varieties of named David Austin roses and may be more, as not all the plants are labelled. That’s a collection. There are several different heucheras and for the first time in my gardening life I have been looking at them in garden catalogues, thinking about adding to them, because they seem to do well, and if one is good….

So, tell me. What is your guilty collecting passion? Or what would it be if you had the time/space/money?


5 thoughts on “the bug

  1. Lovely hellebores, impossible not to take them home with you. I’ve never really been a collector, though I did buy stamps for a while when I was small. Even with plants I have tended to be promiscuous with my attentions, although now I am craving simplicity and quantities of some lovely plants rather than small numbers on lots of different ones.

    1. I understand the desire for drifts of the same lovely thing and simplicity of design. Part of me longs for that too, but I love the different stars the seasons bring and want to fill the garden with a succession of ever- changing brilliance and beauty.
      I feel free to experiment here, to find out what will thrive and what will struggle, to discover through experiment which families are going to be star performers. Isn’t plant growing wonderful?

  2. With plants there always seems to be something. I bought three hellebores today, so that’s a splurge, and my current passion. It changes with the seasons. Given where we are it will be woodland plants I’ll be collecting now.

    1. There will be so many woodland plants to grow in Devon, given what I imagine will be acid soil and relatively mild winters. How exciting ! I agree with you that the passions move with the seasons, and I feel that is as it should be, always looking forward to the next delight.

  3. I’ve just discovered your site and you’ve captured my interest! Beautiful hellebores.. You asked about collecting passions… Certainly plants of all sorts, but especially magnolias… With virtually no space left on our two acres, I’m considering 14 new cultivars this spring… And as far as hellebores… 72 arriving in April! I definitely appreciate collectors! Can’t wait to study your site! Larry

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