Ever Decreasing Circles


This is a petrocosmea, a ground-hugging, rosette-forming relative of the African violet, hailing from the mountains of Western China. In its natural habitat it has a nice, orderly life, bathed in cool mist, languishing in the shade. Each plant produces an ever-expanding, mathematically perfect spiral of downy leaves, softer than a lamb’s ears. Occasionally one might break loose and flower before going back to its disciplined existence. How I envy the control this petrocosmea has over its life, going through the motions “just so”.

Meanwhile, at the bottom of the mountain, it feels like the human race is hell-bent on making life as complex as possible. I say this, please understand, as a someone who is just about to go on holiday, is supposed to be planning another, and is managing a building project whilst at the same time guaranteeing that Christmas will be wonderful for the middle echelons of UK society. Just tonight this feels like rather a burden. Instead of gently increasing, my world feels like it’s going in ever decreasing circles. Come Saturday at 12.00 I am confident the fog will lift, the cogs will stop whirring and the chaos will cease. I’ll be able to enjoy the experience of sharing our garden with other plant lovers and restore a little calm and balance to my life again. My niece Martha will be arriving on Monday, so any sense of order will be swiftly curtailed on arrival of the 14.34 from St Pancras at Platform 2. After that a lie down on a misty mountain might be even more appealing.

For a selection of petrocosmea, visit the website of Dibleys Nurseries.

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14 thoughts on “Ever Decreasing Circles

  1. UK gardeners have the best plants, and the US gardeners feel quite put upon. There, I said it. 🙂 You are one busy guy, but I know you will be successful on all fronts including being “Uncle Dan” to your sweet Martha. I can’t wait to see how all these projects shake out so keep that iPhone handy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The weather forecast is for wind and rain on Saturday, coming from precisely the wrong direction, so I will need my British stiff upper lip! I have just purchased another Ken Druse book on shade gardens from Amazon. Do you know of him? I think he might be my favourite living garden writer!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay, I’ll get out the special rosary beads from the Vatican and get busy with them on Friday night in hopes that when you wake up on Saturday it may be cloudy and there may be wind, but there will not be any rain on your open house. 🙂 I was not familiar with Mr. Druse but I’ll head over and check that book out especially since I have some major work to do on a shaded bed this fall. Thank you for the referral.


  2. Yes, oh, to have an orderly life like petrocosmea… which is beautiful, by the way. Hope your visit goes well and your various projects and workstuff…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Dan

    I just wondered which Ken Druse shade book you’ve purchased and do you recommend any others for shade please?

    All the very best for the weekend opening. No doubt it will be a roaring success!

    Liked by 1 person

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