Celi, beloved chronicler of the Kitchen’s Garden , posted a challenge last week asking us what we see from our back porches. I’ve been turning it over in my mind ever since (no doubt helped by the wonderful views that have been popping up in her posts). We don’t have any back porches or even back doors, but I found myself paying attention to views that I don’t usually stop for and thought I’d share a place and a plant with you.
We are on the mountainside, which means that we spend a lot of time running up and downhill. There is always something to fetch and one of the places I run to and from the most often is the Shed. We keep our tools here, as well as shade netting, staple guns, saws, wire, spare potting medium, sprinklers, pipes, valves, faucets, paint and probably about two dozen other things that I have forgotten to mention (like screws, nails and staples!)
Ali has a jasmine habit that needs to be constantly satisfied, so we have star jasmine in various spots around the garden including, cannily enough, in this most frequently used space. (That whitewashed window off in the corner is a bit of the greenhouse.)
We have a palm growing here, with an amaryllis to keep it company, and we’ve got some white pomegranate trees that Ali is growing from cuttings that a neighbour gave us a few years back. White pomegranates, as their name implies, are much paler in color than the regular ones, both inside and out, and they are much sweeter in flavour.
Although it is not so visible in the photo, we have shallow beds on the roof of the shed. It was on a whim. The first year, we threw wheat that we feed to the chickens up there so that something would grow, and grow it did. Upon seeing the lush green wheat grass, one of our neighbours, a villager experienced in garden matters, gently suggested that we might like to plant our wheat in the field next time! We scattered wildflower seeds the following year and they still come up in the spring.
The plant that I wanted to share with you is an acanthus that grows by the stairs. It is directly below a massive lavender shrub, and I think it might be slightly overlooked for this reason.
Initially, I was attracted to the idea of growing acanthus because it is the inspiration behind the Corinthian column. I have come to appreciate the plant for its less historical qualities, not least its lovely dangerous looking spikes of purple flowers. Here it is, with no lavender in sight to steal its fire: