Whenever I read one of Mrs Gaskell’s letters I am reminded of those circular radar screens you see in films about the Second World War. The sweeping arm illuminates what appear to be random spots of light on the screen, just as Mrs Gaskell’s pen moves from subject to subject with no immediately discernible connection. I thought I would finish the current sequence of blogs with a similar approach to plants and flowers in the garden. I will just pick whatever comes to mind.
In 1852 Mrs Gaskell wrote in her letters about the vegetables that were growing in the garden. In another letter she tells of being given rhubarb, though whether she meant rhubarb stalks for cooking or a root of rhubarb for growing, is not clear. I suspect it was a root.
It was not the best day for visiting a garden. The day, Wednesday, started grey and cloudy, progressed to misty and then spread that thin, wet, Manchester drizzle over everything. The tulips drooped, the flowers of the magnolia stellata hung limply and the old daffodil flowers were no longer just shrivelled but were definitely dead! So we had not chosen the best day for our Meet the Gardeners Day at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House.