Website of poet Elizabeth Rimmer


  • Winter Violets

    Violets do this – flowering randomly any time from October to April. Back in the day there was a whole industry forcing violets to bloom through the winter so that flower girls could sell posies on the streets of London. I have never seen enough violets in bloom at once to make a posy, but even the single unexpected blooms lift my heart. In spite of the fact they are a beautiful deep, rich purple, (like no body of water I have ever seen), they have a luminous gleam that always makes me think of sunlight on water. So I was very interested to find this article on twitter this morning


    where a calm sea is described as ‘pansy-like’. I totally get this in one way, and yet in another, not at all.

    This is the violet patch in the new look herb bed. This one focuses on scent and colour, with lavender, rosemary, purple sage southernwood, myrtle and costmary, for pot pourri, and the dye herbs – bog myrtle, dyer’s greenweed and woad to come next year.

    I have finished the last big garden job before the winter, which is to plant the new rosa gallica officinalis here:

    fortified with bonemeal and mulched with last year’s leaf mould, just in time, as we have had the first frosts, and it is time to think about work indoors.

    Although setting up my plans for the colours and stitches projects I’m working on has been new and exciting, the two biggest concerns in my mind at the moment are the workshop I’m planning at Taigh Chearsabhagh, and the launch of Haggards next year. I am putting together some sensory experiences, some plant associations, and some very diverse ways of writing about herbs as ways of thinking about home, landscape, healing, femininity, wildness – and many more. We’ll have to see what comes out of it, but I’m very excited.

    I’m putting together a newsletter for Haggards, which I hope will include news of events still at the planning stage – do sign up, if you would like to hear more.


  • Half a Hundred Herbs – the culinary patch

    herbs in the new culinary patch
    all planted up

    The new herbs are in – sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme, winter savory and lemon thyme. They are too small to make much impact yet, but they seem to be settling in well, and the current good weather is certainly helping. The chives are flourishing, lemon balm is coming through, and the sorrel plants are beginning to recover from their rough handling. All the seeds I sowed two weeks ago are up, apart from parsley (well, it does have to go seven times down to hell before it comes up) and mollucella laevis, which isn’t doing a thing.

    The knot garden is beginning to green up, but nothing shows up on a photograph yet, so I’ll wait a week or two and try again. Some of the other herbs are doing well –

    pots below the culinary patch
    mint, tarragon and chives

    Pots which were in the greenhouse now have lots of new shoots.

    violet, two blooms
    flourishing violet plant

    \the violets in the stock bed seem to like the richer soil here.

    primroses and wind anemones
    primroses and wind anemones

    I’ve had my first flowers on the wind anemones under the birch tree. The next step will be to sow seeds outside – chervil, marigolds, poppies. Rain is forecast over the weekend, so that will be a job for tomorrow.

    The frogspawn has gone from the full stop stage to the comma, as the tadpoles grow, and the hedges are full of sparrows and blackbirds building nests. I can hear starlings, great tits, wrens and chaffinches singing most days, and yesterday for the first time this year, I heard skylarks.  They must be in the fields at the end of the village, but their song pours into my garden like rain. Fabulous.


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