While cutting down a now large clump of crocosmias I came on a label in the centre which read, “Crocosmia Bristol/Severn Sunrise/Sunset.” Check the name. From Anna Nolan. Sept. 02″ .
I know now that this is Crocosmia ‘Severn Sunrise’ and I have enjoyed it in the garden for the years since I received it as a gift from Anna when we visited her garden in September 2002. It is odd the memories which we attach to gardens but most engrained in my mind are the directions we used to get to her. We travelled up the N11 – long before the new layout there at present – and, after passing St. Brendan’s Hospital in Loughlinstown, would keep our eyes peeled for a pair of service stations, one at either side of the road. When we passed the one on the left we knew it was time to move to the right hand lane and do a U-turn to move to the opposite carriageway. Such a move nowadays would probably bring Dublin traffic to a standstill for hours. We then passed the other service station and took the next left and though we knew the address, 12 Shanganagh Vale, it was always the planting which guided us to the house. There was no doubt but that you were arriving at the home of an enthusiastic gardener as Anna’s plantings extended out on to the pathway outside her home
Anna always had what we might call tasty plants, something different, new and interesting. She created a beautiful garden but was first and foremost a lady with a passion of plants. She was very active in local gardening societies and had been especially involved in the Dublin branch of the Alpine Garden Society from its very beginnings. Shirley Lanigan in her “Irish Gardens” wrote, “This is a perfect, tiny town garden that earns its keep all year round” and it was Carmel Duignan who recalled a French journalist commenting when he visited that the garden was “Tres chic”.
It was always a pleasure to visit and her gardening friends remember her with great fondness as, unfortunately, Anna passed away in 2009. So, it is good to have a well inscribed label and a plant in the garden which preserve her memory for us.
As an aside, Anna came to visit our garden with the Irish Garden Plant Society on one occasion. Her husband, Seán, was one of the party but Seán was not particularly interested in gardening, certainly not an enthusiast at any rate and, soon after arriving, someone commented that he was a bit grumpy because he was missing a football game on the television. Seán and I slipped away from the group and I set him up with television, bottle of whiskey and glass and I believe no visitor has ever enjoyed our garden so much.
Some of the plants from Anna’s garden photographed in September, 2002: