I believe I’ve put forth a tiny soul-root into Kingsport soil this afternoon. I hope so. I hate to feel transplanted.” L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

When we saw this house last year, the woman who owned it said apologetically, “I’m not much of a gardener, I’m afraid.”

It’s true that the garden is a bit of a wilderness. But it’s also become clear that “not much of a gardener” means something rather different in England than in New England. Underneath the rampant ivy and bindweed and overgrown shrubs, there’s a profusion of plants here, well-chosen for their spots, and growing in green harmony.

My mom and my mother-in-law are both champion gardeners themselves, so some of these plants are well-known to me, while others are vaguely familiar. Plenty more, however, are a complete mystery.

I’m sure when my mum-in-law comes next, she’ll enlighten me. But in the meantime I’ve decided to photograph each new blossom as it comes, to help identify them, and as a record.

Here are some of the recent highlights, starting with the chives outside the back door:

Rosemary, which is (oh, joy!) a perennial here:

A flower I know as mountain bluet in my mother’s garden back home:

Bluebells (late this year, I’m told, after a long, cold spring):

And a solitary but spectacular parrot tulip (with resident snail inside):

Like Anne Shirley, I hate feeling transplanted. And I’ve been feeling mighty transplanted of late. But taming this garden helps. Little by little, I’m putting down new roots.

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