A Cyberconversation between Mazzy and Margaret - subject mainly laurel

Margaret ... Mazzy, thank you for your contribution on laurel. Incidentally while creating your page, I encountered one of the advantages of web collaboration. Well, something I see as an advantage, though some, perhaps, would call it a disadvantage.

After I had used your landscape photo on the alphabetical page and then created a separate laurel page for your text, I needed a picture to place at the side of your text. I decided to pick up my camera and snap a a portrait orientated picture of the laurel that grows outside my study.

Mazzy ... I think that works well, the text was a tiny bit long to fit into the existing format and it makes sense for the words in those righthand boxes to be *your* commentary with guest views and links and such kept separate. When I look out of the window though the leaves look a brighter lighter green than captured in this polaroid (well, when it's light here they will)

However, If you really wanted a picture of 'Pauline Masurel and her Laurel' then I will send you the one where the leaves came from in the first place (You will probably need to scale it down or crop it a bit).

Margaret ... Thanks , Mazzy , that will be useful Anyway when I inserted this picture, pro temp, alongside your text, I realised at once that my 'laurel' was a totally different plant to your laurel. (any yellow splodges on mine I am sure are due to disease),

Mazzy ... You mean, your laurel grows up the side of your house like that? How extraordinary, it seems quite a different thing.

Margaret ... Not only that but both our plants are totally different to the plant used by the Greeks to crown their winners. (The Greeks' laurel was what we in the UK call the bay tree, the leaves of which we use in our stews)

Your laurel I would guess is the laurel Victorian children spent so much time playing under according to innumerable memoirs, and my laurel is probably not a laurel at all.

Now if we had been in the same room you would have agreed straight away to provide a portrait picture of your laurel and I wouldn't have realised my confusion about my 'laurel'

Mazzy ... Yup, one woman's diluted vision is another woman's 'learning experience' alright...it's always interesting discovering how differently others view the world...

Margaret ... Could my 'laurel' be a particularly boring kind of euonymus, I wonder?

Mazzy ... ... Another family of 'dull but worthy' plants!


Mazzy ... Right, I started to look this up to figure out the botanical name of my laurel, I think mine's probably prunus lusitanica,

Margaret ... Hey, That looks like my laurel as well now. They may be two cultivars of the same thing, you have the variegated kind and mine the totally boring plain one. Incidentally , mine doesn't climb up the wall. I have pruned it back to the wall. Anything you see climbing is the ivy I can't succeed in killing although I have sawn through the stems at the bottom.

Mazzy ... I think my laurel would be the one meant in the Victorian books. It's the 'shrubbery' variety and the house I used to live in had a much larger hedge at the end of the garden. They could give Leylandii a run for their money, if not for speed at least for downright 'presence'. This little bank of laurel bushes by the front gate is relatively contained, and not all that venerable. In fact you can see it here in the foreground, prior to a hair cut: I also have a couple of very tiny, weedy looking acubas, spotted laurel which don't do much with the holly hedge for competition and things that overgrow but I leave them because I imagine their golden leaves would add a splash of colour to the garden if they could but get started.

Margaret ... My plant has one saving grace. It provides a nesting spot for thrushes. On second thoughts, that is not such a plus point as the squirrels regularly strip that nest of eggs,

Mazzy ... Right...they can be devious blighters. We had a huge glut of acorns here at North Point this year. The squirrels have become a little nonchalant about them. I've left a big pot of them on the oak stump and they scoop one out and munch their way through it like a party snack. They're even leaving the peanut bird feeder alone at the moment but seem fascinated by the seed feeder, I don't know if it's the black sunflower seeds that they like so much. They can't open it up but once in a while they'll carry it off and drop it somewhere in the garden for me to rescue. Anyway, enough rambling,....I'd best be seeing what I'm supposed to be about doing this morning. If any other plants trigger associations at a later date I'll scribble something and send it your way.

Margaret ... Before you go, will it be all right with you if I use this conversation in the cafe

Mazzy ...Sure, 'pour encourager les autres' shall we say... I hadn't intended to get distracted into plants but I happened to remember that I had the background of those leaves in that portrait snap and it set me remembering 1987 and the 'little' laurel tree. It looked so manageable down the end of the garden as I viewed it for months from my armchair, singling it out...once inside the modern bungalow it almost reached the ceiling. That was the first Christmas I was able to invite my family to my home as 'hostess'...

Margaret ... May I also use it, accompanied by the description of the plant I have happily been calling a laurel for thirty years and which I now am beginning to believe is really, a laurel (of the Victorian, not Greek variety?

Mazzy ... Sure, I think the dialogue adds to the background and thoughts about the plant, don't you. I like the idea of your plant finder being about personal observations and beliefs, not just stark fact though...there are any number of those sorts around, like the gardeners world one. If people contribute this could be a unique collection of associations and memories as well as practical hints and tips. Almost like a scrapbook or album in a way of friends' jottings...I like that very personal side of the web as well as the idea of 'authoritative information provision'. I think there's plenty of room for both.