I have now spent almost a year walking round the Garden on my own and finding things in a very ad hoc way, and that’s, generally, how I like it. That element of surprise has made it all the more enjoyable, if I had had a list to work through it could have become a chore. The gardeners, Susan, Pedro, Joel and Tony have pointed me in the direction of some very unusual and interesting things but sometimes there are missing labels or I have questions they cannot answer. On these occasions Pedro always says “you must ask Eric, he will know”.
So on Tuesday, just to see what I may have missed and to get some answers to particular questions I booked a quick tour with Eric Schmidt who looks after the botanical records at Leu Gardens. His knowledge is encyclopedic. I learned about many new things that I would have missed, a scented palm, the ancient and wonderful ephedras, the macaw palm, a rare yellow camellia, maples that look nothing like maples, a cactus with leaves and an acacia with leaves that are not leaves at all. I have discovered the name of the big fig tree near the house and found the Provisions tree and joy of joys, a fabulous pod of the Little Kurrajong, the Brachychiton which I wrote about here ..
It’s very big and very furry. Every bit of it is furry, as if made entirely of velvet. As I was drawing it, the little furry segments huddled together looked like rows of baby monkeys or perhaps little owls, very comical. I am going to investigate this a bit further. Eric tells me these seeds will germinate easily so I may try some.