Saturday, 2 May 2009

"We'll Gather Lilacs"

And somebody has done just that.

Our local park is home to the national lilac collection. I don't know how it came about - never been sufficiently interested to find out, I suppose. As far as I was always concerned, the lilac is an attractive shrub or small tree with flowers that come in two colours - white and, well, lilac. Having looked a little more closely at the plants in the park I now know that there are different shades of each colour and various other nuances that differentiate the varieties. But that is of no concern to us here: nor does it matter that my dear old granny believed lilac to be an unlucky flower and would never have the blooms in the house.

To get back to the national collection. A few years ago, it was decided by whoever makes these decisions that the plants were past their best and the collection needed rejuvenating. New beds were dug and young plants put in. They have, most of them, become established now and are just starting to show their blooms at their best. As far as I was aware, everything was as normal when I was in the park just after breakfast yesterday. But as I was walking down through the wooded part this morning, I stopped to chat with another regular dog walker who told me that somebody had come along with secateurs and the new plants had been cut, some of them now displaying only a few blooms. Speculation is that somebody has cut the stems and will stick them into pots to sell at the market on the racecourse this weekend. Of course, by the time any buyer realises (s)he has been duped into paying several pounds for a stem rather than a growing plant, the seller will be long gone.

I am told that the police have been informed and have undertaken to patrol the market to see if there is anybody selling what purport to be lilac plants, but somehow the cynic in me says that the instruction will never reach to coppers patrolling the market and nothing will be done.

This is actually quite a hectic weekend here in Brighton. We have the opening of the Brighton Festival, accompanied by the fringe events, the first of which is the children's parade this afternoon. Then, of course, there is the racecourse market on Monday (which is a bank holiday in lieu of May Day) and the annual horse driving trials in Stanmer Park. On, no - the horse driving is next weekend.

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