The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

A wonderful combination

hyacinths and elaeagnus.jpgShopping with my mum is fun. Jalopy has a well deserved rest and we venture forth every other weekend in Danny’s company car.

With her special badge we can glide into the spaces right beside the supermarket doors. When I spring out of the driver’s seat passers by look angry but when I open the passenger door and they see the waking stick and my mum, they relax.

My mum is no dinosaur. It’s the walking stick that’s the green light. And we’re grateful to be able to nose into the easy access bays. After a big shop we’re both tired when we head for the car.

Somehow over the pasta and spring asparagus we connect in a deeper way than if we had just met for a fleeting cup of coffee. Surrounded by food, it’s natural that we talk about it. It’s the springboard for hundreds of other conversations as we progress slowly up and down the aisles. She introduces me to new ingredients and sometimes I can share our discoveries too.

My mum gave me these hyacinths last weekend. We had some lonely variegated elaeagnus skulking in a vase. The combination is wonderful and has buoyed me up all week.

Incidentally, my grandmother always said that planting variegated elaeagnus is a great investment. The leaves can transform an arrangement of flowers. In the winter the shrub brightens the dullest day as the leaves look as if they are splashed with sunlight.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Angela

    Yes my mum is still alive. She’s 90 on Friday!

    I know that I’m blessed that she’s been around for such a lot of my life.

  2. Angela Connolly

    Blue Hyacinth, in the language of flowers, represents Constancy. How appropriate that your Mother bought you those flowers,her message to you, her daughter, was spoken through those flowers.
    I lost my Mother recently, and you know what? In a drawer in her kitchen I found (or maybe I was led) to a packet of Sweet Pea, wildly out of date, but anyway I planted them, many miles away from Lancashire, where my Mum Lived,to my windswept, salty- sea breeze garden in West Cork Ieland , where I now live, and they sprouted,they grew strong, and their perfume scented many a summer evening, when I walked by the place where they were sat.
    Nothing else seemed to perfume the air as sweetly.
    I hope you still have your Mum; treasure her, as in the words of an old Irish Song says ‘ You’ll never miss your Mothers Love ’til she’s buried beneath the clay’

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi KJ

    Yes, I think that you are right – our lives are entwined with food.

    Hi Kay

    I’ve only started shopping with my mum recently -since she stopped driving. It’s so much more fun shopping with someone else and we get to spend some quality time together. My mum has always been a foodie.

    My potatoes are going in at the weekend. Way behind in the garden this year but things will catch up, I hope.

    Frost damage? Poor you.

    Hi Celia

    Blue hyacinths are my favourites!

    The one place we don’t visit together is the butchers.

    The silver leaved Eleagnus sounds good. I wonder if our one smells good too.

  4. magic cochin

    Deep blue is the perfect hyacinth colour.

    Like you and KJ, I’ve learnt a lot about food by taking my Mum to the shops over the past couple of years – especially our trips to the butchers.

    I’ve recently planted a silver leaved Eleagnus – mainly for the scent of the flowers (can’t wait for it to bloom for the first time) it smells of apple pie spice!


  5. They are gorgeous, those flowers. Do you know, I’ve never been shopping with my Mum? I envy you that close relationship.

    How are your potatoes doing? Ours actually got frost damage on the allotment last week – waaah!

  6. Your flowers are beautiful. I enoyed your post. It’s the same deal with my Mum. I think food is so entwined in our lives that any conversation around it will naturally lead to all sorts of things.

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