A clematis montana rubens has clambered up into some trees in a back garden. A long stem has fallen from the branches. It hangs down, two or three meters without flowers, then at the bottom, a wreath of the little pink flowers, sways gently in the breeze.
I pass a stately, elderly couple on my way into town. They have loose clothing and a guide book and both wear straw hats. They look relaxed as they walk towards the Grove obeying instructions in the book. On my way back through Calverley Park, I see them again, walking in the opposite direction. I find myself hoping that they have not been disappointed and that they will tell someone in a post card or on the telephone how much they have enjoyed Tunbridge Wells.
In someone's front garden I spot a sweet cicely plant. For as long as I can remember this early flowering herb, with its fern-like leaves and flowers in close, white umbels, has grown in my own garden, where years ago I planted it long ago. It smells of aniseed. Its leaves are said to be slightly sweet, and may be used as a substitute for sugar. It is pleasing to see it in another garden, a bit like coming across an old friend, unexpectedly at a party.
When I was little, I used to eat the seeds -- get them early though, as they become very fibrous later on.
It's hard to grow from seed, though it self-seeds freely; we got a plant evetually and now it's established. Later it becomes covered in some kind of shield bug, which change colour like chameleons.
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