Pâquerettes, French for daisies (Bellis perennis), probably from Pâques (Easter), which is when they first flower – i.e. now. The monotony of local lawns shattered by these little stars, while the woodland upstart bluebells vie for attention in posher gardens, giving off a whiff of hyacinth and nodding smugly. “They’re beautiful when they first come out” said one neighbour (about bluebells), “but they look so ragged when they fade. And they stay like that for ages.” Not the pâquerette, which remains jolly, winking back at you, resisting the trampling of children and staying bright even when picked, bobbing in a glass, on the kitchen table.
Hibiscus syriacus doesn’t originally come from Syria, but eastern Asia, probably China and Korea. It’s been in bloom in our garden and others around here in northwest London for the past few days. So popular with gardeners it might better be called Hibiscus suburbus. But I love it when our bush flowers as it goes from green leaves and pregnant buds to a mass of white and pink-tinged flowers almost overnight. And at last the bush is taking on a more natural form after the downstairs neighbour, in love with his power tools and a rectilinear decking aesthetic, took a chain saw to it two years ago and made it into a box of twigs on a stalk. LIke a square lollipop. Since they left, I’ve been able to prune it and shape it by hand using secateurs and an eye for shape rather than any real knowledge of what I am doing.