Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Privet Lives

My personal experience with privet extends to the sorry end of a pair of clippers. As I remember it, the sound of privet growing is not unlike that of rust spreading through an English car. Ceaseless and unrelenting.

With that in mind,and all the confidence a nursery catalog can instill, last spring I felt I must have a privet hedge to encircle the back of the drive. My planting instructions were, place the stick in the ground and jump back, lest their rapid growth hits me in the eye.

My results were otherwise.

I am a too patient grower. It pains me to pull out dead plants. It's growing roots I tell myself. Eventually, truth wins out, and I start over, but somehow these survived the winter.

Does privet need sun, water, sweet soil, love, protection from deer? I hope not for I cannot offer any of that. Grow it I must however.

Have you seen Perry Guillot's book, Privet Lives, An Imaginary Tale of Southampton's Iconic Shrub?

I have the bad habit of pulling it off the shelves every year about this time, and wistfully plan how our landscape would be so much better with such luxurious shrubbery.

If you have not seen the book, it is a whimsical look at the shrubs surrounding the homes of the residents of that famous burg.

Each page is a watercolor drawing of green fantasy, and clever caption. It can often be found on Alibris for a couple of bucks.


Special note for my children: Today is your mother's bd. Don't forget!


Shelley said...

Must find the picture I took and show you my neighbour's hedge -- cut in the shape of a train... His lawn is also manicured, or rather cut with the checkerboard diamond shapes...all two square meters of it.

I'm a too patient grower as well...or perhaps just very selfish. I figure I did my part, putting it in the ground. The rest is the job of the plant, right?

Martha said...

I thought the low boxwood hedge replaced the privet.

Happy BD to Mrs. T.

Toad said...

Martha I am growing a box hedge from cuttings. It's the world's slowest growing plant. After a decade it is finally taking some shape.

BTW it the first Mrs. T's bd, not the incumbent. I'll pass your wishes.

Patty said...

That's so interesting, I love the castle walls one.

Pigtown-Design said...

LOVE this book! Thanks so much!