An almond for Phyllis

Today would have been my paternal grandmother’s birthday and so is a day I particularly remember her. An avid gardener G’ma Phyl(lis) created a beautiful garden in her last home (the only one I clearly remember) that looked stunning whatever the season.

I would love to plant something to remember G’ma Phyl by and read somewhere of the association between Phyllis and almond trees in Greek mythology. Almond trees however need a sheltered spot, something I’m not sure my garden high in the Kentish downland can offer. The front garden, while south-facing, is often shredded by the prevailing wind and the back garden is a perfect frost pocket with little sun for half the year.

Further research has revealed that filbert, often used in Kent in place of hazelnut, has its origin in Phyllis. Although the fragrant flowers of the almond might seem more appropriate for G’ma Phyl, there is something lovely about linking this local tradition with my memories of a remarkable woman.

As G’ma Phyl used to say, ‘Aren’t we lucky!’


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