Why was it a surprise? It turns out that a climbing plant in the garden, which I initially thought was a boring old Clematis, is in fact a passiflora caerulea, which automatically makes it far more exciting. When I first saw a passion flower, years ago in Fiesole, I thought it was the most exotic flower I had ever seen (I know: I’m easily pleased). They’re also rather fascinating: having been informed that the parts of the flower symoblise elements of the Crucifixion, I now have an almost irresistible drive to count the petals to check the number of disciples represented (as you can see, it’s ten: Judas and Peter don’t make the cut). Unexpectedly having a vine covered in these lovely blossoms just outside my kitchen window gives my mood a little lift each time I see them.