On the edge of the ellipse

or hello Gary Oval
So a couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece about the top end of my garden.  I explained that it was not an area I concentrated on very much and that it had a few scruffy shrubs, one of which was this Garrya Elliptica.  I further explained that in general it was not a shrub I cared for and I have been known to remove them from gardens in the past.

So these shrubs have put their heads above the parapet now and have been noticed.  Shortly after writing that piece I went out and pruned them all and reshaped them; not hugely, but I removed the straggly bits and made them look a little more loved.

At this point the tassells on the garrya looked like this:
Not the most thrilling of things, a bit like green maggots hanging down.  I was not hugely impressed.

At the weekend I went to see how the manky shrubs were doing and was very pleased to see the tassells now looking like this:
A huge improvement!  and when you tap the branch smokey pollen drifts away; I liked that a lot.

Suddenly I feel a lot happier with this garrya.  Maybe it is in the right place and that is why I like it better than previous ones.  So it has earned a definite stay of execution.  If it continues to impress I may let it stay.  However, "never send to know for whom the bell tolls Gary Elliptical - it tolls for thee."*

Of course, I did wonder why is it called Garrya Elliptica?  Is it that the leaves are meant to look elliptical?  According to Wikipedia "Ellipses are closed curves and are the bounded case of the conic sections" which I am sure answers this question completely.  Any way, the leaves do look elliptical so I think we can safely make that connection.

* John Donne


  1. I'm glad Garrya stays. By blossoming it showed you (I guess)that it can be worthy of your garden, and can be loved as well. But of course, at the end of the day, you are the boss ....

    1. It's a definite stay of execution - I think it might stay now :)

  2. I can never decide if I like Garryas or not. In some places and in some years they look fabulous and just right. At other times and places they are dull. Yours looks good. Fortunately, I don't have to decide their fate, as I can't grow them in my conditions anyway.

    I didn't know John Donne wrote a Meditation about Garryas. Live and learn :)

    1. John Donne was a great fan of the Garrya, he wrote many pieces specifically for them

  3. I think I will stick to admiring garryas in other people's gardens, being put off by the lack of interest later in the year. Glad you have found reason to stay your hand though, hope you find ways to tame your troublesome corner and make it a favoured area.


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