Of Motorbikes and shrubbery

The TT (Tourist Trophy) is an amazing sporting event held every year on the Isle of Man (just in case you didn't know).  Motorbikes and motorbikers from all over the world converge on this tiny island that nestles between Ireland and Great Britain.

It is important, nay compulsory, for me to make clear that the Isle of Man is a British Crown Dependency and not part of the United Kingdom or Europe but is part of the British Isles.  It has possibly the oldest continuously existing parliament in the world, the Tynwald and was the first country to give women the vote in national elections in 1881.  Emmeline Pankhurst's mother was Manx.  

I have visited the Isle of Man many times, staying in Kirk Michael which perches on the north-west coast of the island.  As you would expect I would not return from such travels without plants.  Escallonia rubra var. macrantha is noticeable all over the island and always in flower when it is TT time of year.  Of course I bought one and every year when it flowers I can almost hear the motorbikes screaming around the roads.

It's flowering a early this year, the TT festival begins on the 30th May which makes it about 10 days early, which seems to be the same as the rest of the garden at the moment.

In reality has has more against it than for it in my usual gardening world.  I am not a fan of evergreens.  I find them generally quite dull, sitting there just looking green all winter.  I forgive this shrub, it is pretty well behaved; I trim it once a year and it is as tough as old boots (which is why it thrives on the island).  It can be used for hedging but I am trying to topiarise mine into a ball shape.

I won't be at the TT this year, having a break from it at the moment, maybe next year.......