Hypericum calcynum. I always found this shrub or sub shrub, as one of my books calls it, rather brassy, a little pushy you might say. And then I realised that what I didn't like about it was its shiny leaves and its untidy habit. In the wild it is known as Rose of Sharon or Aaron's beard. The flower itself, I have come to admire because it looks like the sun. It's the same with other cultivated hypericums. Cut away the undergrowth and shape the shrub and the flowers seem a lot more attractive.
In the wild you have a number of hypericums more modest in their appearance under the banner of St John's wort. As a herb it has a lot of medical uses against among other complaints nervous disorders.
The name hypericum comes from the Greek and means "over an apparition", a reference to the belief that the herb is so obnoxious to evil spirits that a mere whiff of it causes them to fly off. Another reason for liking the plant.
The painters hack away at some rotten sills under our windows. " This should make good kindling," says Grant, "know anyone with an open fire?" We do. Our shredded window sills go into a big plastic bag and are delivered to a neighbour who welcomes them into his shed.
In the vegetable garden the wet weather has brought on the sweet corn which is already sprouting embryonic ears. Whether the corn will ripen without sunshine is another matter. But the tall plants with their elegant plumes are decorative enough at the moment whatever becomes of them.