I love a coincidence and here we have one. Once again most of us are waking up to a very hard frost, or even snow, and I am impelled to go outside into the garden and observe all the amazing shapes and patterns that only reveal themselves under such conditions. And while I wander around, there comes back to me the opening lines of John Keats’ famous poem – ‘The Eve of St Agnes’.
St. Agnes’ Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
The hare limp’d trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
Then I espy the beautiful seed heads of the Yunnan liquorice and I am reminded why, despite the very short days, I love this time of the year. And then I wander back inside all the time wondering when is the eve of St. Agnes? Before Google has even confirmed the answer I know it must be today – and it is!
Upright in habit and attaining about one and a half metres, you may not be that impressed by this unassuming, hardy perennial during the summer months; its mauve flowers are insignificant, but what follows are the all important seed heads which turn from green through purple to russet brown in the winter, and at all stages they are utterly beguiling.
NB Louise has published a beautifully produced book of her plant profiles – A Plant for Each Week of the Year. It costs £9.99 and is for sale in our online shop here.
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