Patonstreet The Garden of Cyrus Patgetsglove

The Needle of Nature

"The needle of nature delighteth to work" – oh yes indeed Sir Thomas! what pleasure it is giving me to embroider my miniature garden scenes and plants. Did I say I would make ten? Maybe I could make twelve, I don't want to stop. In my garden I look for the "quincuncial order" in plants – counting the petals on violas, geraniums and now this strange plant with pale green five-petalled flowers on twining stems which I've never seen before, turns out to be "tetter", Bryonia dioica. Sir Thomas writes that a chalked tile was placed at the four corners and middle of fields as a rural charm against this "strangling weed". Wonder if I should try that instead of Tumbleweed? My husband's cactus collection is scrutinised. The Astrophytum from South America is shaped like a bishop's mitre with yes, FIVE ribs (although it must be admitted that there are others in this family with four or seven!) I don't suppose Sir Thomas would have come across many cactus in the 17th century. I inspect my specimen of Hedysarum coronarium – the red flowers do indeed possess "rhomboidal protuberances". The seeds for this native of Italy came from the Chelsea Physic Garden – maybe Sir Thomas saw it there too? Separated by centuries, we are nevertheless connected by plants.