30 June 2012

Green is not the only colour

Agapanthus candles prepare to ignite
Like tall green candles, the Agapanthus buds flare green in the morning garden; soon they'll ignite into bursts of sky-blue, echoing the Geranium behind and the Veronica carpeting the pebbles nearby. The contrasting yellow flowers of the ubiquitous Welsh poppies lighten the mood a little. 

I've mentioned before that I'm not great with colour in the garden, I tend to be wa-a-a-y too subtle for my own good, and then I wonder why my garden looks dull. The crazy thing is, I love to see what others do with colour in their gardens, it's just that I lose faith when I try to, you know, do something wonderful with massed colour in my own little patch. It's partly a lack of courage, partly a lack of space: if you start to mess about with colour with more enthusiasm than skill, your garden could end up looking like someone overturned a bin in it, scraps of unrelated colour littering the place and hurting the eyes...

So, since one of the nicest way to learn in gardening is by seeing  what other people do, where better to go than June Blake's garden: it's a place that makes sense of the idea that gardens were originally considered as reminders of Eden. Last Sunday we went along, bringing two friends who hadn't been there yet, but who now intend to return. What a treat; as ever. June is a woman of many talents (jewellery-making and sheep-farming among them), but surely gardening is her vocation. She's a plantswoman but also a gardener who has a flawless sense of design and colour. It's a pleasure, always, to visit her garden. She does the hot beds/cool beds thing, but the structure and the combinations of the plants mean that you scarcely notice that this is what's going on, you just realise that it all works...

A hot corner - lupins and poppies in June Blake's garden
And it's not just colour that delights the eye, her meditative garden is full of soft greens and wonderful textures; there are a small number of eye-catching (sometimes quirky) sculptures here and there; there's a great use of grasses and bamboos; and through it all a subtle and pleasing sense of rhythm, framed at one point by the elegant stretch of Larch above. It's dynamic too: in the last couple of years, June has created patches of meadow, some softly contoured grassed mounds and just this year she removed two trees to open up a view to the blue hills of the Leinster granite to the east.
Just go... even if you're not a gardener, you'll be enchanted. Oh, and the coffee and homebaked cakes, served up by a friend of June's, will delight your taste buds too.
Speaking of taste buds, the soft fruit in my own garden is on the go now. And in spite of the rain, the raspberries and loganberries are ripening. But there are problems with mould, so I've been picking the fruit in between showers and other rainy patches and then turning most of the raspberries into jam. The loganberries will meet the same fate, but the early strawberries (that I cosseted in the glasshouse) we eat one by one, savouring every delicious red, sweet bite. 
Raspberries, ready for jam
Loganberries, not quite there yet
Strawberries, slowly savoured
And just in case, after all my moaning, you think there's no colour at all in my garden, here are a few splashes:

Dierama, near the tiny pond

Dierama, near the pool
Poppy in the rain
I very carefully didn't mention the weather this week, except in passing, as I was worried that this blog was turning into Erica's weather rather than Erica's garden. So just to say: it has been mixed. Here's a sycamore leaf brought down by the wind and rain in Enniskerry last weekend, but some of the days were beautifully warm too: there's still hope of a summer!

Sycamore down
Sycamore sunlight
And a sort of a PS, for those of you who enjoy looking for the embedded schnauzer.

Phygelius to  accompany the red Dierama

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous02 July, 2012

    Have you forwarded your blog details to June Blake? You'd certainly deserve free entry on your next visit. SOT