Felicity Kendall (left) as Rosemary Boxer; Pam Ferris, as Laura Thyme.
I'm thanking Kay, Sarah, Robin, Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme for the near-revolution in plantspersonship that has rescued the museum grounds from general straggliness this spring. That's Boxer (Felicity Kendal) and Thyme (Pam Ferris) above --- the herbal cure. Rosemary and thyme. Get it? I haven't caught up with the others with a camera yet. But I will.
Anyhow, our brush with near groundskeeping disaster began during early May when city-wide clean-up day was rained out. Usually, on clean-up day, a small herd of high school seniors supervised by a somewhat older volunteer arrives to clear away the debris of winter on our acres --- leaves, fallen limbs, last year's growth now dead and the like. Earlier, Betty --- our curator emeritus and master gardener --- had become totally committed to the Russell museum's expansion project after the untimely death of Mary Louise. So there we were, up a crick without a paddle (spring was wet, remember, although now it's very dry), so to speak.
Then riding to the rescue came Kay, Sarah and Robin --- among the artists who gather to work together at St. Andrew's on Monday mornings from whom I usually bum a cup of coffee, or two.
Combining bright ideas and strong backs, they cleared the grounds, dug up flower beds untouched in years, planted everything you can imagine, conquered encroaching grass and weeds with fresh mulch and Kay now is engaged in watering the result on a regular basis. Sarah drove up yesterday as I was holding my head and moaning about other projects with four planted planters, two for the front portico of Stephens House and two more to flank the Lewis Building doors. Other than maintenance, we're about done for now. My contribution to the whole thing has been to haul lawn and garden refuse to the dump.
At least some of the credit for this goes to Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme, the stars of a British television mystery series that lasted three years --- from 2003 to 2007. As it happens I have all 22 episodes on DVD.
Rosemary & Thyme --- developed and produced by avid gardeners --- is the sort of programming only the British are likely to generate. Rosemary, cut loose from her job as an academic botanist, and Laura, a retired police constable who cuts loose a straying husband, pair up with an ancient Land Rover to roam the English countryside (and occasionally Europe) as contract gardeners. Bodies keep appearing in the gorgeous gardens where they're working and, naturally, the two solve, while gardening, the mysteries that led to these unfortunate deaths.
So early this spring, I shared my DVDs with some of the artists, including Sarah --- who took them home first; and then, with Kay. Shortly thereafter, Sarah and Kay with sidekick Robin announced their interest in taking on the museum grounds --- and the rest is history. I'm crediting Rosemary & Thyme with providing the inspiration; the inspired Sarah, Kay and Robin, with providing the bright ideas and hard work.
When the DVDs came home, a note from Kay was attached: "Thanks --- I think. The gardens were delightful."
Although the three didn't plant the yuccas below, now in full bloom along what we call the staircase to nowhere, you can actually walk down the steps because of their clean-up efforts. Stop out any time to see what else they've been up to.